Editor’s note: This story has been changed with clarifying information from Kingston Health Sciences Centre about the number of intensive care unit beds at Kingston General Hospital.
One of Kingston’s intensive care units (ICUs) is completely full, with nearly 20 of its beds taken up by COVID-19 patients from outside of the region.
Kingston has been one of several regions in Ontario that has been accepting COVID-19 patients in need of critical care from hot spots elsewhere in the province whose ICUs are overflowing with patients. Currently, KFL&A Public Health is reporting zero local hospitalizations from COVID-19.
Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) says their main ICU was at 100 per cent occupancy as of Thursday, including 17 beds serving COVID-19-positive patients from across the Ontario Health East Region.
“COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are on the rise during this third wave of the pandemic, and Kingston Health Sciences Centre is not immune to this increased demand,” said a statement from Renate Ilse, vice president of patient care at KHSC.
Kingston General Hospital has three intensive care units, the Kidd 2 unit, which currently has 38 beds, the Davies 4 Unit, which currently has 25 beds and the CUS unit, which currently has 15 beds. KHSC says the Kidd 2 unit and the Davies 4 unit were both at max capacity at one point on Thursday.
Nevertheless, because of the current demands of the pandemic, the total number of beds at Kingston ICUs are fluid, KHSC said. More beds are being added to deal with the demand.
Ilse says they are expecting six more COVID-19 patients to be transferred to their ICUs on Friday, for a total of 23 high-needs patients from out of region. More will follow, she says.
Although case counts have stayed relatively low in the Kingston region, cases have soared across the province over the last couple of weeks.
In Ontario, hospitalizations are up by 41 per cent over the past two weeks and new variants of concern now account for 65 per cent of all cases in the province.
On Monday, Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the region, told reporters there were 10 patients on respirators in local ICUs as of Sunday.
On top of the COVID-19 patients, KHSC says it’s also been dealing with a surge in non-COVID-related ICU visits.
“We have opened up additional critical care capacity and are working to reconfigure our services to accommodate what we expect to be a significant surge in the next few weeks,” Ilse said.
The Ministry of Health says they are working on a response for this story.
— With a file from Global News’ Saba Aziz