COVID-19

Mental health and the pandemic

Fourteen months into the global pandemic, even if you allow yourself permission to imagine a return to more normal times in the not too distant future, the complete story of COVID-19’s toll on society will likely not emerge for a while still. This includes the full effect on our mental health stemming from the anxiety, fear, isolation, financial hardship, and other stressors felt by many since early 2020.

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From tests to vaccines: the lab’s role in a pandemic

The importance of testing to confirm COVID-19 infections has drawn new attention to the role of our healthcare labs. At Royal Columbian Hospital, the lab has a long history that goes back more than 100 years. Nowadays, with more than 5-million tests performed a year and with the generous support of donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, the hospital’s Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department helps in over 80-percent of medical diagnoses. And that was before the pandemic struck.

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Planning for a pandemic

Pandemics and infection control measures have long been on the radar of healthcare planners. Previous international outbreaks, including SARS and Ebola, have made the topic a key consideration in the design of hospitals, including Royal Columbian Hospital’s current $1.49 billion redevelopment.

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Roger Pinette’s story

Roger Pinette had been feeling unwell for a few days, struggling with a bad cough, headaches, a fever, and fatigue. They are the type of symptoms that have come to be associated with COVID-19, but back in early March 2020 it was not yet front and centre in people’s minds. It would be several weeks before the 72-year-old Langley resident would learn he had contracted a near fatal case of the respiratory illness, only hearing the news after he had awoken from a lengthy stay in Royal Columbian Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

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Vince Li’s Story

26-year-old Vince Li had been battling a fever for several days in March 2020 when he made his way to the hospital in Burnaby. The results of an X-ray and blood test revealed tell-tale signs of COVID-19. Doctors decided to immediately sedate, intubate, and send the young man to Royal Columbian Hospital, one of the province’s primary COVID-19 sites. There, he became the youngest COVID-positive patient to be mechanically ventilated in the hospital’s intensive care unit during the pandemic’s spring peak.

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