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