Health PEI hoping stricter border measures will help keep hospitalizations low

·2 min read
'There's a very big difference with how we manage this here and how it is managed in other parts of the country,' says Dr. Michael Gardam, the chief operating officer at Health PEI.  (CBC - image credit)
'There's a very big difference with how we manage this here and how it is managed in other parts of the country,' says Dr. Michael Gardam, the chief operating officer at Health PEI. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. has the capacity to admit more COVID-19 patients if necessary, but it would require significant changes and come at the expense of other patients, says the chief operating officer of Health PEI.

Dr. Michael Gardam said the best strategy is to control the virus out in public, and keep it out of the hospital altogether.

"Our plan, frankly, is to not have a lot of hospitalized patients here on the Island," he said in an interview with Louise Martin, host of CBC News: Compass.

Gardam made the comments following the announcement by the Chief Public Health Office of new, stricter measures at the border aimed at limiting the importation of COVID-19.

We can make beds for people, but that is going to come at the expense of other patients. — Dr. Michael Gardam

Gardam moved to P.E.I. last year from Ontario. He said P.E.I.'s health measures, including acting quickly to impose those measures, have been "extraordinarily successful" in keeping COVID-19 out of hospitals.

"There is a dramatic difference, and it's really hard to explain unless you've experienced both systems like I have, but there's a very big difference with how we manage this here and how it is managed in other parts of the country."

Gardam said if there is a need to place COVID-19 patients at Island hospitals, it would require the cancellation of some elective surgeries to free up beds.

"We can make beds for people, but that is going to come at the expense of other patients."

P.E.I. currently has 13 active COVID-19 cases, two of whom are at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. One is a child younger than 10. The other is a person in their 40s who has been moved to the intensive care unit.

Gardam said COVID-19 patients are isolated from other patients. The staff who care for them have been fully vaccinated, and wear the appropriate protective equipment.

"In a way, when you strip away all of the fear about COVID-19, how we manage these patients is very similar to how we manage somebody with influenza," Gardam said.

More from CBC P.E.I.