The flood that shut down the Kamloops Urgent Care Clinic in lower Sahali wasn’t just a pain to clean up, it’s causing pain for patients who have nowhere else to go.
Dr. Todd Ring, one of the doctors who does shifts at the clinic, said Thursday the doors could be closed for two or three weeks — or even longer — as soggy drywall and wet equipment gets removed or refurbished.
That leaves two other walk-in clinics in town — already swamped with patients — to deal with some of the 80 or so people who would go through Kamloops Urgent Care every day.
The closure was initially thought to be a few days after Tuesday night’s flood, but as the restoration crew has looked at closure, they’ve realized the damage was more extensive than originally suspected, he said.
No cause has been found for the flooding.
“We can see typically upwards of 80 patients in a day. It’s pretty busy,” he said.
The clinic sees everything from kids with fevers to ankle or wrist injuries to people with flu-like symptoms and more.
Kamloops has hundreds of residents without a family doctor who rely on the walk-in clinics for their medical care.
Some have already turned to the emergency department at Royal Inland Hospital, but not as many as might be expected, said hospital administrator Marg Brown.
She suspected some people might be putting off going to a clinic or the hospital to see if they get better first. But as the closure gets longer, more people are likely to show up at RIH.
“I anticipate as this goes on, volumes will go up,” she said.
“We’ll do what we have to. We always have. It’s certainly not convenient. Or sometimes not the best in terms of privacy. But we’ll do what we have to to compensate and deliver the care that’s needed.”
The good news is, the winter flu and norovirus season peaked last month and is starting to wane slightly.
Brown said last month, the ER hit a high of 180 patients in one day. Usually, though, it’s around 160.
Patient numbers are being watched closely and extra staff will be brought in at peak times if needed, she aid.
“We’re assessing it as we go long,” said Brown.
“It’s a day at a time.”
Anyone going to the hospital should remember patients will be prioritized according to the severity of their problem. Taking a book, and depending on symptoms, perhaps water and a snack, is advisable.
Brown said people who aren’t sure if they should go to the ER can also call the provincial healthline and speak to a registered nurse. Just call 8-1-1.
“It’s important people know we’ll assess on a daily basis what we’ll do for staffing. But there are waits already in emerg on a daily basis,” she said.
Ring said a possible temporary clinic spot has been discussed, but it’s more complicated than it sounds. Patients need follow-up and doctors need access to medical records.
Ring, who is regional medical director of emergency services for Interior Health, said any alternatives will have to involve IHA and the hospital.
And when the clinic is ready to reopen its doors, the public will be notified, he said.