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Toronto’s SickKids Hospital to open ICU admissions for young adults with COVID-19

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SickKids Hospital in Toronto says it is preparing to open up its ICU to adults aged about 40 and younger as Ontario grapples with the pressure that COVID-19 cases have put on the health care system.

SickKids, which is primarily a hospital for children, said it has the capacity to treat adults because ICU admissions there have remained low.

“Fortunately, children typically do not have severe cases of COVID-19, which has put SickKids in a position to help alleviate some of the pressures facing the adult ICU system,” the hospital said in a statement on its website.

The hospital is opening up an eight-bed unit to handle adult cases if other hospitals run out of space, it said.

“Patient transfers will only occur once certain hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area exhaust available capacity after activating their surge plans, and all potential transfers to neighbouring regions have been attempted,” SickKids Hospital said.

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Read more: Ontario ICU capacity reaching critical level due to COVID-19 variants: hospital group

“SickKids has the clinical expertise to care for adult patients, (and) the appropriate processes and protocols in place, including robust infection prevention and control measures, to ensure the safety of all patients, families and staff,” the hospital continued.

“In addition, we have the physical capacity to accept these patients while minimizing disruption to the safe care of pediatric patients and hospital operations.”

On Wednesday, Ontario reported 1,397 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 504 patients in ICUs and 311 in ICUs on a ventilator.

The province has said that as a result of the new variants, hospitals are seeing younger people being admitted with serious illness as a result of COVID-19.

Several ICU doctors have said that they are seeing younger people on ventilators, including parents of school-aged children, and that entire families are ending up in their ICUs.

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