Coronavirus cases put York Region hospitals at ‘tipping point’ warned

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CEOs of three major York Region hospital networks warn that the city’s health system is at a “tipping point” due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the CEOs of Mackenzie Health, Markham Stouffville Hospital and South Lake Regional Health Center said they were concerned that a significant increase in the number of cases could affect the ability of hospitals to deliver regular services.

“We have reached a tipping point in our efforts to manage COVID-19-related volumes at our hospitals – Mackenzie Health, Markham Stouffville Hospital and South Lake Regional Health Center,” the statement said. “After seeing a significant increase over the past week in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to our hospital, we are concerned about how this could impact access to care like scheduled surgeries for all patients in our communities.

As Toronto and Region of Peel entered the gray lockdown category in the province’s multi-level framework on November 23, York Region officials called on the province to leave the region in ” red zone ”less restrictive. In doing so, they cited the fact that area hospitals were doing well as a strong indicator that York Region did not need further restrictions.

The York Region Public Health Department reported 193 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The region currently has 1,234 active cases, including 65 people hospitalized, including 10 in intensive care.

The latest data from the province shows York Region had a seven-day moving average of 107.6 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population for the period ending Dec. 4, a 17.6% increase from to the previous week.

This compares to 119.9 cases per 100,000 population in Toronto during the same period, an increase of 11.4% from the previous week in Toronto.

Kurji: the region’s indicators “don’t look too good”

Speaking to CP24 on Sunday, York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr Karim Kurji acknowledged that hospitals in the area “are increasingly challenged,” but said he “didn’t Not hearing the kind of crisis calls “that hospitals in Toronto and Peel were going out before their lockdown.

He also said he didn’t think a lockdown would help reduce cases as the region hasn’t seen a strong link between shops, restaurants and gyms and the increase in cases.

However, speaking with CP24 again on Tuesday evening, Kurji said a lockdown for York Region may be inevitable.

“We’re also in discussions with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as we usually do every week, to see whether or not York Region should be closed,” he said. “And for the moment, our various measures do not seem to be there. We are therefore on a path that may very well lead us to a lockdown, depending on the different processes and the different controls that accompany the making of these decisions.

Kurji has suggested that the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in York Region hospitals may be the result of people from outside the region seeking care there.

“Hospitals are increasingly challenged as they welcome patients from all over the Greater Toronto Area,” he said. “So while our own patients at York Region Hospital, you know, may not have contributed as much to the caseload as the others around us, it’s imperative that people follow very closely. strictly public health guidelines.

Kurji did not say how many patients hospitalized for COVID-19 came from outside the region. It is also unclear how many York Region residents are hospitalized in neighboring Toronto, where a number of hospitals are closer for residents of Markham or Vaughan than for those in their own town.

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, whose cities border Toronto, have often repeated the reasoning that a lockdown is not necessary because hospitals in the area are facing. However, they are concerned that visitors from neighboring municipalities in the highly interconnected GTA will come to York Region to shop or use gyms.

Although the letter from hospital CEOs did not call for lockdown restrictions in the region, it pleaded with the community to do their part by following public health guidelines to prevent further spread of the virus.

“Our staff, physicians and volunteers are doing all they can to continue to provide exemplary care to patients and their families, but the growing pressure from COVID-19 is taking its toll. For them and for all, as a community, we must do better, ”the letter read.

“We ask you to always wear a mask in public and when you cannot physically move away, and to avoid social gatherings. We know that the greatest potential for the spread of this virus is when people interact in groups of any size, so to slow the spread we must avoid these interactions. “

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