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RVH directed to cancel non-emergency surgeries, procedures in response to surging COVID-19 cases

The measures come as COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to surge, putting pressure on hospitals across the province. File

The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, along with other hospitals in the province except for those in northern Ontario, have been directed to ramp down all non-emergency scheduled surgeries, procedures and other non-urgent activities starting Monday.

The measures come as COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to surge, putting pressure on hospitals across the province.

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RVH says the order is designed to preserve critical care bed capacity and ensure hospitals have enough staff to safely care for patients.

RVH will continue to perform emergency and urgent surgeries and procedures, like trauma, cancer and vascular procedures.

Virtual visits will also continue to be offered for many exams and assessments, including cardiac, mental health and cancer.

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“We recognize how difficult and frustrating this second ramp-down is for patients, particularly those whose procedures were already delayed due to the pandemic,” Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Hospitals are confronted with extraordinary capacity challenges of a magnitude we never imagined. We must do everything possible to ensure we have the beds available, particularly in intensive care, to safely look after the patients who need our help.”

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RVH says patients will be notified directly if the ramp-down affects their surgery, procedure or clinic appointment. Only those patients whose appointments are cancelled will be notified.

This is the second non-emergency surgery ramp-down for Ontario hospitals. They were first directed to pause non-emergency surgeries and procedures in March 2020.

Read more: New COVID-19 testing centre opens in Innisfil, Ont.

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In June 2020, RVH began ramping surgeries and procedures back up and has worked to ease the surgical backlog.

RVH says it’s “well-prepared” for the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital has enacted its critical care capacity plan, which will allow it to open 21 additional critical care beds throughout the site.

RVH also continues to operate its 70-bed pandemic field hospital, 27 transitional care beds at the I.O.O.F seniors home and 29 more beds throughout the hospital.

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