Interior Health announced today (Wednesday) that beginning May 19th they will be resuming elective surgeries that were postponed due to COVID-19.

Susan Brown, the President, and CEO of Interior Health said “We are working with the Ministry of Health to safely resume elective surgeries and support access for patients both on waitlists and those waiting to be added to the waitlist. Throughout the resumption of services our priority is to minimize the risk of COVID-19”.

Interior Health is calling patients to confirm their health status and if they are able and willing to move forward with surgery.

Brown said some people may choose not to have their surgery at this time and they will keep their spot on the waitlist.

To support as many people as possible, Interior Health will also maximize their ability to provide minor procedures that do not require an operating room, as well as day surgeries that do not require overnight stays in the hospital.

Urgent, emergent, and oncology-related surgeries were not impacted by the pause in surgery and will continue as priority cases.

From March 16th to May 10th three thousand elective surgeries were postponed in the Interior Health Region.

To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for patients, staff, and physicians, a number of measures will be implemented as part of the surgical process.

When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference or telephone prior to surgery.

Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used.

Patients will be assessed 24 to 72 hours prior to surgery and upon arrival the day of surgery.

Surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and infection control measures.