(Island Health)

Both Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) and Victoria General Hospital (VGH)  will be reopening their emergency operation centres (EOCs) due to an influx of respiratory illnesses.

The EOC will reopen at the beginning of next week, on Monday, January 9th, to deal with the overwhelming number of respiratory illnesses.

BC health authorities say they want to be proactive in their approach to respiratory illness season to ensure that people needing medical assistance have access to hospital quality care.

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According to the province,  the frequency of hospitalizations during January typically increases as people try to receive medical care after the holidays. Demand can be high for hospitals–as surgeries and illnesses ramp up following the holidays which leaves some hospitals stretched thin. 

EOCs were used at BC hospitals throughout its pandemic response, but they have also been utilized during wildfires and extreme weather events. 

The reactivated EOCs will be open a minimum of six weeks and teams will be working to reduce the impact of the respiratory illnesses on their nearby emergency departments.

Nanaimo Regional General, Royal Jubilee and Victoria General will all be receiving the aid of the EOCs on Vancouver Island and will be staffed seven days a week, according to the province.

The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the progress of the EOCs and the demand on hospitals due to increased respiratory illnesses. 

The province continues to encourage British Columbians to receive booster vaccinations and flu shots to keep COVID-19 at bay. The Ministry of Health still recommends staying home as the best way to stop the spread of influenza if BC residents are feeling symptoms. 

According to the province, people with non-emergency health issues can visit their care provider or a walk-in clinic while people who need urgent, same-day care should contact an urgent and primary care centre. 

Any health-related questions can be directed toward HealthLink by calling 811.

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