Patient transfers continue at London Health Sciences Centre as hospital numbers stay high

Click to play video: 'Canada’s COVID-19 hospitalizations still sharply rising amid Omicron-driven wave: Dr. Tam' Canada’s COVID-19 hospitalizations still sharply rising amid Omicron-driven wave: Dr. Tam
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday that although there are early indicators suggesting Canada has reached its peak of COVID-19 cases in the Omicron-driven fifth-wave, daily hospitalization numbers are still 'rising steeply.' – Jan 21, 2022

Due to the high number of patients in the hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is under significant stress, leading to several patients being transferred out of the region.

The Omicron variant has led to hospitalizations hitting all-time highs as more people get infected with the virus.

As of Friday, 153 patients are in LHSC with COVID-19, with 297 staff members who have tested positive for the virus, and officials say more staff are off sick or quarantining.

Interim executive vice-president Dr. Adam Dukelow says around 10 patients have been transferred to other hospitals since Wednesday. He said all patients stayed within the southwest region.

“We continue to have a very high number of COVID patients coming to the hospital and being admitted, and a high number of COVID patients in our in-patient units and critical care — so the hospital continues to be under significant stress,” Dukelow said.

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“We are coping, and our hospital is safe. Unfortunately, in order to cope, we still have a reduction in our scheduled services.”

Read more: COVID-19 — LHSC, St. Joseph’s pause non-essential visitation amid case surge

Surgeries are at 40 per cent of normal volume, with LHSC hoping they can increase soon.

Dukelow says patient capacity is around 97 per cent for medical and surgical beds, which is less than it was at the beginning of the week.

“The majority of people that are here who are positive with COVID would not be here if they did not have COVID,” he said.

Dukelow is urging people who are unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine to help manage cases.

The unvaccinated represent less than 10 per cent of the Middlesex London population but 34.5 per cent of all hospitalizations as of Dec. 11, 2021.

On Tuesday, a record-setting 166 patients were in the hospital at LHSC, and 374 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

With cases slightly decreasing from the start of the week, Dukelow says the hope is that by the end of the day the hospital will not need to make any more transfers.


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