Vancouver Coastal Health demobilizing alternate care site at Vancouver Convention Centre

WITH approval from the Ministry of Health, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced on Tuesday that it has initiated the planned demobilization of the Alternate Care Site (ACS) located at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The ACS located at the Vancouver Convention Centre was established in April 2020 and was one of several ACS’s established throughout the province to ensure B.C. had sufficient capacity should there be a significant influx in patient volumes due to the pandemic.

The establishment of the ACS was completed on April 9, 2020, and was operated under the direction of the Vancouver Coastal Health Regional Emergency Operations Centre. The Canadian Red Cross (CRC) provided components of their Emergency Response Unit and technical personnel to assist with the mobilization and maintenance of the site. The site was also prepared to accommodate the Provincial Health Services Authority’s Mobile Medical Unit for patients who may have a higher care need.

The site was in a state of preparedness to be operationalized from April 9, 2020, to July 2, 2021, and had a capacity of 271 beds. While this ACS was never activated, VCH continuously assessed and revised operational plans to ensure the site reflected the shifting needs of the healthcare system throughout the pandemic.

“I thank everyone who transformed the Vancouver Convention Centre into an alternate care site,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.  “While we are fortunate that we did not have to activate the site, your dedication meant that if our hospitals were at capacity, people in Vancouver would have had a safe place to receive health care. It’s great to see the centre about to return to its original, vibrant space.”

As the province transitions to Step 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline and acute care capacity remains stable. Confirmed COVID-19 cases have declined from a 7-day moving average of 140.7 cases on June 12, to 46.9 cases as of July 12, 2021. As of Tuesday, there are 658 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., with 66 individuals hospitalized and 14 in intensive care. This represents a significant decline compared to the peak in COVID-19-related hospitalizations at the end of April, where over 500 people were receiving treatment in acute care.

VCH anticipates the demobilization process will be concluded by Friday, July 16. Plans have been put in place to support a site remobilization, if needed. VCH said it deeply appreciates the support of all partners and frontline workers who helped to mobilize and maintain this ACS during the pandemic. These include the B.C. Ministry of Health and health authorities, Health Emergency Management B.C., PHSA’s Mobile Medical Unit, the CRC, St. John Ambulance, B.C. Pavilion Corporation and the Vancouver Convention Centre.