St. Boniface Hospital’s intensive care unit is officially over capacity.
The Intensive Care Medicine Surgery (ICMS) unit, where the hospital says it cares for its most critical patients, has all 14 beds occupied.
A memo posted to the hospital’s website says they have had to admit a patient to the Intensive Care Cardiac Surgery (ICCS) unit as a result.
The ICCS unit is also unable to take any new patients as staff have been furloughed due to exposure from a patient.
The hospital says more than half the patients needing critical care are positive for COVID-19.
“We know that patients being treated for COVID-19 remain in intensive care for longer periods of time than other critical care patients,” the memo says.
“This puts additional pressure on our capacity. Due to the capacity strain, the hospital says they cannot expand capacity without canceling surgeries, saying that would free up staff who could then be deployed to treat Intensive Care unit patients.”
Just hours earlier, Manitoba health minister Cameron Friesen shot down claims from opposition leaders that the health care system was on the brink because of ICU’s being near capacity.
“This is a misunderstanding of the way our health care system works,” Friesen said. “At times like this, system leaders come together and determine how can we now redeploy workforce from across the system in order to focus on the most important thing.”
“While you might say we’re approaching capacity in ICU, we have the ability to flex up and add capacity,” Friesen added.
Meanwhile, the hospital says Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital are working with staff to create capacity to meet the surge of patients that will need care moving forward.
The hospital says while the matter of surgery cancellations is under consideration, they’re mindful of the impacts it will have and will keep those patients updated.
Right now, there are 25 patients and 11 staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital, as well as three deaths related to the outbreak.
In its latest COVID-19 update released Thursday afternoon, the province said 17 people were in ICU with the virus.