A lead Ontario agency is warning hospital CEOs they should be prepared to accept patients from outside their regions due to a continuing rise in coronavirus cases.
“Updated projections show that by Jan. 24, the province will see more than 500 COVID-19-related critical illness patients in intensive care units and over 1,700 COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Ontario Health CEO Matthew Anderson wrote in a memo on Thursday.
“To meet these needs, we must continue to do more to work as a single, seamless hospital system.
“What we do together in the next few days and weeks will set the stage for our ability to meet escalating and anticipated hospital capacity demands.”
Anderson said hospitals should be prepared to accept out-of-region patients, share resources, and prioritize the treatment of patients.
For those facilities with available ICU bed capacity, hospital staff were directed to keep a third of that capacity for patients from overwhelmed hospitals who need to be transferred for care. The hospitals were directed to review the admission of patients to critical-care beds.
All hospitals were directed to be ready to accept any patient transfers as directed.
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For areas with community transmission of COVID-19, in-person urgent or time-sensitive surgeries and treatments should continue “without delay” but there should be a plan to defer “non-time-sensitive care” if needed.
The direction comes more than three weeks after Anderson told hospitals in areas with a high number of cases to be prepared to activate surge capacity within 48 hours if needed.
According to the COVID-19 data released by the Ontario government on Thursday, there are currently 1,472 people hospitalized due to coronavirus — an increase of nine patients from the day before.
Of those patients, 363 people are in intensive care units (a day-over-day increase of two patients) and 242 are on ventilators (a day-over-day decrease of four patients).
To date, 204,145 people have tested positive for coronavirus, 4,856 have died due to COVID-19 and 172,571 people were reported to have recovered from the virus.