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Signs of this tension have been evident in recent days with growing queues at Ottawa testing centers and growing frustration among people trying to get tested.
On Monday, Etches and Cameron Love, CEO of The Ottawa Hospital and co-chair of Champlain’s COVID Response Committee, said urgent work was being done to increase testing capacity to deal with what could be a new peak in demand. in winter.
Up to 3,000 COVID-19 tests are done in Ottawa every day, Etches said, which is about half of the number predicted by local health officials in the coming weeks.
Current plans are to double the daily testing capacity to around 6,000 per day, including 2,000 on children.
Health officials from the COVID response committee working with public health and hospitals have been pushing to increase screening capacity in recent days. Over the weekend, paramedics tested 2,750 people at the Canadian Tire Center.
On Monday, Montfort Hospital announced that it would open a test center in Orleans at the Ray Friel Recreation Center. It also operates a test center on Heron Road.
Meanwhile, Love said hospitals were focusing on catching up on overdue surgeries and procedures – many of which have now become urgent. He said there was work being done to increase surgeries and procedures to between 20 and 30 percent.
“If we don’t do anything, it will probably take years to catch up with the surgical backlog.”
In an effort to increase bed capacity, The Ottawa Hospital is taking over part of the newly built Greystone retirement home on Main Street and adding 120 beds for patients who no longer require acute care but who are waiting to be moved elsewhere. He said the hospital could eventually move up to 250 patients there. Queensway Carleton Hospital did something similar in the spring, taking control of part of a hotel to move people who no longer needed acute care out of hospital during the pandemic.