Services are back to normal Monday after cold weather forced the closure of renal, emergency and main entrances at Cariboo Memorial Hospital. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Cariboo Memorial Hospital on the mend after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

While all services have resumed at Cariboo Memorial Hospital, it’s clear the building itself is a little worse for wear after weathering last week’s extreme cold snap which burst water pipes and froze the main doors.

Dialysis and lab outpatient services were cancelled on the weekend and the public was asked to limit visitations due to the ongoing challenges caused by sustained -30C temperatures for days in the city. The water was shut off to the hospital Friday night while maintenance staff tried to isolate leaks, leaving staff to transport water from nearby Deni House.

The main entrance, which was the first entrance to be shut down due to problems caused by the cold weather, is now open, although visitors to the hospital have to find their way through plastic strips hanging in front of the doors, presumably to keep the cold out when the sliding doors open.

Public entrances for renal services and the emergency department remain closed Monday due to the burst water pipes and flood restoration vehicles are parked at the side of the hospital.

Read More: Extreme cold bursts water pipe, closes emergency and main entrance to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

Efforts to get water back on at Cariboo Memorial Hospital were successful Sunday. A boil water advisory remains in place Monday until testing is complete.

In a series of statements made during the challenges, Interior Health said they were appreciative of the dedication of hospital staff.

“We would like to thank staff and contractors who have done amazing work over the last few days to keep operations running and get services back online. We appreciate the many long days people inside and outside the community have put in,” stated an IH spokesperson. “Thank you!”

Last week Interior Health requested funding to retrofit the boiler and chiller system at Cariboo Memorial Hospital. The upgrade will cost $1.4 million, of which the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) portion would be $547,000.

Read More: HAPHAZARD HISTORY: Hospital brings life to budding community

James Kinakin, IH director of business support, told the board the retrofit could not wait until the hospital’s planned redevelopment, of which phase one is set to start in 2021, with work on the new addition expected to finish in 2023. Phase two renovations to the current hospital are expected to be complete in 2025.

CMH Redevelopment is a $217.8-million project being funded by the provincial government, Interior Health and the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District.

– With files from Monica Lamb-Yorski, Williams Lake Tribune


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