(Phil McLachlan - Western News)

(Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Penticton ICU patients moved to Kelowna amid Christie Mountain wildfire

Four ICU patients and nine long-term care residents have been relocated

Four intensive care unit patients from Penticton Regional Hospital(PRH) have been moved to Kelowna General Hospital as Interior Health (IH) takes proactive measures to protect the people in its care as the Christie Mountain wildfire continues to grow.

Nine residents from Braemore Lodge, a long-term care home currently under evacuation alert, are being relocated along with care teams to Mount Ida Mews long-term care home in Salmon Arm.

“Out of an abundance of caution, IH has activated its internal emergency operation centre and prepared contingency plans in the event the evacuation zone is expanded. This includes efforts to reduce patient occupancy at PRH,” reads an IH press release distributed Thursday, Aug. 20.

Hospitals across the region are preparing to receive patient transfers from the Penticton hospital in the event it is ordered to evacuate.

Surgical patients who are requiring overnight stays are being rescheduled and replaced with patients awaiting surgical day procedures.

IH is also actively planning alternate locations for potentially impacted long-term care homes in the event they are required to evacuate.

The health authority has proactively identified people who are isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will ensure those people can remain isolated.

“If the evacuation zone is expanded, we will ensure everyone who needs to remain isolated will be supported in developing a safe isolation plan separate from the general public.”

Currently, Penticton Regional Hospital remains open to receiving urgent trauma and emergency patients.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Christie Mountain wildfire is 2,000 hectares in size. More than 300 people have been ordered evacuated in the RDOS and nearly 3,700 Penticton residents are under evacuation alert.

READ MORE: Residents and businesses rally around evacuees of Christie Mountain wildfire

READ MORE: Forecasted winds may pose threat as Christie Mountain Wildfire grows to 2,000 hectares

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