Ontario hospitals must activate emergency plans as number of COVID-19 patients rises


Hospitals across Ontario have been ordered to prepare for a peak in COVID-19 patients.
An Ontario Health memo obtained by CBC News asks hospitals to prepare to activate emergency plans immediately. For hospitals in gray lockdown and red control zones, this means making up to 15% of their beds available for COVID-19 patients.

Matthew Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health, a provincial government agency, said in the memo dated Tuesday that the pandemic has entered a more critical phase with now widespread community transmission.

Anderson said the ability of hospitals to care for patients with and without COVID-19 was in question. The note was sent to all general managers of hospitals in the province.

Ability to care for “challenged” patients

The memo tells all hospitals to be ready to activate their “surge capacity plans” within 48 hours.

“As we all know, we have entered a more critical phase of the pandemic where we are seeing widespread community transmission,” Anderson said in the note.

“Our ability to care for patients (COVID and non-COVID) is in question, so we are asking hospitals to work together, even more, to ensure that we can continue to have the bed capacity to care for patients safely. and effectively.

As part of these plans, hospitals in areas now in gray lockdown or red control zones must make 10-15% of their beds available for COVID-19 patients.

Currently, the Toronto, Peel and York and Windsor regions are in the gray lockdown zone, while Hamilton, Waterloo region and Middlesex-London are in the red control zone.

Hospitals across the province are being told to prepare their facilities in case the public health units they are located in are moved to a red control zone.

“The actions we take collectively in the coming days and weeks will set the stage for our ability to meet growing and anticipated capacity demands,” said Anderson.

“Beyond actions at the level of an individual organization, we all need to take a holistic view to ensure we have a coordinated and fair approach to serving our patients safely and with compassion in all regions. ”

Memo comes after the number of hospitalizations exceeds 900

The memo comes as the number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals surpassed 900 for the first time since May.

The number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 921, up from 857 on Monday, an increase of 64.

Of these, 249 are being treated in intensive care and 156 require the use of a ventilator, five and seven respectively from Monday.

Some hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area are already full and have resorted to transferring patients to other facilities to ease the pressure.

Hospitals in Scarborough, Brampton and Mississauga, for example, have canceled scheduled surgeries, while hospitals in York Region and Hamilton have warned that a capacity crisis is imminent.


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