Already squeezed for lab services, the Comox Valley was hit with another health services blow Wednesday.
Citing staff recruiting struggles, Island Health announced the immediate (Oct. 27) closure of the satellite outpatient lab located at 307A 14 St., Courtenay.
“Recruitment of qualified lab staff is a challenge across Canada, not just in B.C. or within Island Health,” read the Oct. 26 information bulletin. “Medical laboratories across the province, including those in Island Health, are impacted by the increased demand for services due to the COVID-19 response.
“Lab staff shortages are particularly challenging in the Comox Valley at this time. Island Health is also experiencing higher demand for lab services. Volumes through the North Island Hospital – Comox Valley (NIH-CV) campus emergency department increased 35 per cent between October 2020 and October 2021, and outpatient collections increased 30 per cent at NIH-CV over the same period.”
The bulletin also stated that the St. Joseph’s and Cumberland outpatient labs that were closed in March 2020 will remain closed at this time.
Patients with standing orders for lab work will be accommodated at the NIH-CV outpatient lab. LifeLabs also has an outpatient lab in Courtenay at 1599 Cliffe Ave. that residents can use for many outpatient lab needs.
A sign on the front entrance to the lab indicates the closure was for this week only (Oct. 25-29), however, the information bulletin indicates the closure will remain in effect until Island Health has more sustainable staffing levels – an issue they are addressing.