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Hamilton Health Sciences implements further measures at hospitals to create critical care capacity

HHS says it's implementing some additional measures and closures in an effort to manage the pressures that the third wave of COVID-19 is having on the hospital system. Global News

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) says it is implementing additional measures at its hospitals to create capacity for critical care as the system is overwhelmed by COVID-19.

In a media release on Friday, HHS says it has been ramping down scheduled surgeries and “non-emergent, non-urgent activities” in accordance with a directive from the province issued last week.

“The effort continues across Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to create capacity for critical care, and to ensure that the team members with the specialized skills and expertise required to care for the sickest patients are available and supported,” the hospital system said in the release.

Read more: Hamilton-area hospitals begin ‘ramp down’ of elective, non-emergency surgeries due to COVID-19

Clinics at the Urgent Care Centre on Main Street West will be temporarily closing as of Monday, although the COVID-19 assessment centre at that site will remain open.

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Operating rooms at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital will be temporarily closed, with obstetrical services redirected to Niagara Health starting Friday.

The hospital system will also be reducing capacity at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre by 50 per cent, and reducing ambulatory care volume where possible.

HHS says the pressure caused by COVID-19 is “unlike anything we have experienced before,” with ICU capacity at 94 per cent.

Read more: Ontario government asks other provinces, territories to send nurses as COVID-19 cases surge

Out of a total of 108 intensive care beds, 102 are occupied, and 27 of those are COVID-19 patients.

There are 78 patients being treated for COVID-19 in HHS hospitals and 141 staff and physicians are self-isolating as a result of the virus, with 21 of those confirmed as having contracted the virus.

There are two active COVID-19 outbreaks in HHS hospitals — one at St. Peter’s Hospital on the 3 West Unit that has infected 24 people and claimed the lives of five people, and another at Hamilton General Hospital’s 4 West Unit, where eight patients have tested positive for the virus.

“Patients should continue to attend their appointments,” said the release from HHS, adding that patients will be contacted directly if there is a change to their planned care.

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“Our hospitals remain open and safe for everyone who needs emergency care.”

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