Ontario works to create more critical care beds in hospitals as COVID-19 cases surge

Click to play video: 'Surgeries cancelled as Ontario braces for more COVID-19 patients' Surgeries cancelled as Ontario braces for more COVID-19 patients
WATCH ABOVE: Cases of more transmissible coronavirus variants are surging in Ontario. Strained hospitals are forced to cancel elective and non-urgent surgeries. Mike Drolet explains how that's affecting patients – Apr 12, 2021

TORONTO — Ontario says it will add hundreds of critical care beds this week to help with an influx of COVID-19 cases that is pushing the health-care system to the brink.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is exploring its options to boost hospital capacity and staffing levels as variants of concern wreak havoc on the province.

She said in a news conference on Monday that hospitals have been instructed to ramp down all surgeries “except the ones that are absolutely life-and-death matters.”

Read more: Ontario government adding ICU beds, hiring nursing students to deal with COVID-19 case surge

The cancellation of elective surgeries is “unfortunate, but sadly necessary right now,” Elliott said in the legislature.

Elliott is expected to join Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones this afternoon to provide an update on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

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The province reported 4,401 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — more than 1,280 in Toronto — and 15 new deaths due to the virus.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units jumped to 612 — setting another new high.

The province said the various measures will eventually help create between 700 and 1,000 ICU beds to treat the rising number of patients.

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