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COVID-19: Guelph, Waterloo Region hospitals working on plan to resume surgeries

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Hospitals in Kitchener, Guelph and Cambridge say they will resume non-emergent, same-day procedures which do not require inpatient resources as soon as they can.

On Wednesday, the province rescinded a directive that required hospitals to suspend or reduce non-essential and elective services due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Ontario to resume non-urgent surgeries and procedures as COVID-19 numbers decline

“Hospitals in the Waterloo-Wellington have been planning for the gradual resumption of non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures,” said St. Mary’s General Hospital president Lee Fairclough.

“We know the worry people are experiencing as they are waiting for surgeries and want to resume them as soon as feasible. We will be working together as a region to formulate a plan that balances resumption of these services with the care pressures of the third wave of COVID-19.”

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While the province has opened up these options for area hospitals, a release says that they are still operating more ICU beds than normal which means some of the staff that would normally be part of operating room teams are unavailable.

The province issued the directive on April 12, when there were 24 people in area hospitals as a result of COVID-19 including 10 people in need of intensive care.

As of Wednesday’s update, there are still 41 people in area hospitals as a result of COVID-19, including 31 people in need of intensive care.

Over the past month, many of these beds have been filled by people from outside of the region although the number of transfers has been decreasing over the past several weeks.

Read more: COVID-19: Ontario hospitals ramp down elective surgeries to increase ICU capacity

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The plan is to take a gradual approach to resuming operations, according to Fairclough.

“We will start with surgeries that are not expected to require inpatient or critical resources, in order to maintain the ability to rapidly respond to increases in COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations, as needed,” she said.

“As a region, we will continue to closely monitor COVID cases, and respond quickly. It will take time to fully restore surgical and procedural care in our hospitals; but I am glad we’re at this point in the process.”

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