WorkSafeBC has accepted 430 compensation claims related to COVID-19 exposure so far this year, and disallowed 698 others, data from the provincial workplace insurance agency show.
Claim statistics show by far the largest number of coronavirus-related injury claims in B.C. have come from health care and social services workers, with 320 claims allowed and 321 disallowed as of Oct. 21. Another 154 claims from that group were pending and 86 have been suspended.
Accommodation, food and leisure services, including grocery store employees also deemed essential in the pandemic, have produced only 11 allowed claims and 17 disallowed. A single claim from an education worker has been allowed, and another 22 disallowed, with 12 more pending.
“Claims are allowed when there is sufficient evidence to establish that the worker has COVID-19 and the risk in the workplace was significantly higher than the ordinary exposure risk,” WorkSafeBC explains. “Claims are typically disallowed when there is insufficient evidence to establish that the worker has COVID-19 (based on tests or symptom cluster), and/or the worker went off work strictly as a preventive measure.”
Other categories reflect the workplace outbreaks that have been reported by B.C. public health officials since COVID-19 reporting began early in 2020. Agriculture workers have had 28 claims allowed and seven disallowed, while 18 claims have been allowed for workers in food and beverage manufacturing, including poultry processing plants that were briefly shut down due to employee exposure to the virus.
Notable for the lack of COVID-19 related claims are resource industries. WorkSafeBC reports a single claim for oil and gas or mineral resources, disallowed, and two claims for metal and non-metallic mineral manufacturing, both disallowed with three more pending. Wood and paper products manufacturing industries have had two claims disallowed.
Construction, which has carried on with infection precautions but not the shutdown seen in other provinces, has had one claim allowed and 13 disallowed.
“Not all claims registered receive an allow or disallow decision,” WorkSafeBC says. “Some claims are suspended and therefore do not proceed through the decision-making process. This happens after the claims are registered and is often a choice workers make not to proceed wit the requirements of the claims process.”
B.C. records 834 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths; top doctor warns against non-essential travel – The Globe and Mail
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Some Northern COVID-19 patients transferred to Island Health – My PG Now
Northern Health is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 activity and hospitalizations.
As part of the provincial response, some patients have been transferred to other locations, the health authority explained.
Recently, two patients have been transferred from Northern Health to Island Health facilities, however, more detailed information on where those patients were originally from is not available.
Provincial transfer protocols are in place to support patients, and those protocols include strict COVID-19 health and safety measures.
“We can’t predict precisely what referral or transfer patterns may look like – especially for individual patients or locations; those decisions would be based on the care needs of a patient, and available hospital (inpatient and staffing) capacity in any given area at the time,” said spokesperson Eryn Collins in a statement.
Collins says not all patients in critical care units are COVID patients, either.
Across Northern Health there are 41 critical care beds, with an additional 23 ‘surge’ beds should the need arise, for a total of 64.
Currently, 24 of the 64 beds in the region are occupied.
There are also approximately 100 ventilators available, including transport ventilators.
However, Collins explains ventilator numbers fluctuate.
“All NH sites have transport ventilators; there is also a provincial supply of ventilators that can be deployed to areas of need. Finally, each of our hospitals has a pandemic plan, which includes identifying where patients would be cared for based on their care needs,” Collins added.
Breakdown by COVID-19 site as of November 30:
Northern Health (regionally): 41 base beds – 24 occupied, 17 unoccupied, 23 surge beds 23 unoccupied
Fort St. John Hospital: (5 ventilators, +4 transport) One of the four beds is occupied.
Mills Memorial Hospital, Terrace: (5 ventilators, +2 transport) Three of the nine beds are occupied.
University Hospital of Northern BC, Prince George: (20 ventilators, +4 transport) 15 of the 39 beds are occupied.
Other NH acute care facilities: (3 ventilators, +10 transport) Five of the 12 beds are occupied
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, BC doctor says – Keremeos Review
Sports teams have continued to travel into or out of B.C. and COVID-19 infections have spread as a result, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
“We know there are many people who want to travel, who are coming here from other provinces for recreation and sport, and we know that there are sports teams in B.C. that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” Henry said at a pandemic briefing Dec. 2.
“For example, there’s a hockey team in the Interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back, and now there are dozens of people who are affected and it has spread in the community. We need to stop, right now, to protect our communities and our families and our health care workers.”
B.C.’s current advisory against all non-essential travel in or out of B.C. is set to expire on Monday, Dec. 7, and Premier John Horgan says Henry and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control team will determine by then if that will be extended. Wednesday’s result of 834 new cases and 12 additional deaths is a jump from earlier this week and suggests restrictions on travel and gatherings will likely continue.
Henry noted that B.C.’s travel advisory is not an order and the province can’t effectively sort out what is non-essential travel.
“I cannot stop you by an order from getting into your car or going onto a plane,” she said. “But I’m asking in the strongest of terms for us to stay put.”
With the holiday season approaching, a visiting relative is not considered non-essential travel.
“Making an exception for yourself, your team or your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily at this time of year,” Henry said. “I do say, though, if you have a family member who is returning home for the holidays, then that is important and that is fine. But it is critical that when they come here, they need follow all of our orders and guidelines that we have in place. That means no socializing, no going outside the home and having parties and gatherings of any kind right now.”
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