‘TILTING POINT’: Stressed hospitals prepare for rise in COVID infections

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Toronto hospital officials fear the rising tide of COVID-19 infections could overwhelm their already strained systems.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, described the situation in Western Canada, Quebec and Ontario as “worrisome” as rising number of COVID cases threatens to overtax hospitals .

“This situation… puts pressure on local health resources,” she said in a statement. “Hospitals are being forced to make the difficult decision to cancel surgeries and elective procedures in areas of the country to be managed (increases).”

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A spokesperson for the University Health Network – which oversees Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Center, among others – said that right now they are facing but a sharp increase in the number of patients COVID will be very difficult for the whole system.

“We are currently at 100% of our capacity or above emergency admissions,” Gillian Howard said Sunday.

“We know we can cut back on planned activities to have more inpatient beds available – but we also know that this will mean more people will experience setbacks in their care. Our clinical staff are very concerned about the current backlog and further reduction in scheduled care will only add to this backlog.

Howard noted that network teams are tired as the pandemic continues and some workers are sick themselves.

“All of this could combine to make Dr Tam’s predictions correct,” she said.

Ontario reported 1,248 new cases of COVID-19 and 29 new deaths from the virus on Sunday, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott. Of that number, there are 364 cases in Toronto, 308 in Peel Region and 125 in York Region.

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