An influx of kids sick with respiratory illness at the children’s pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in Winnipeg has forced a staff shakeup that may result in the postponement of some non-urgent surgeries, health officials say.
Shared Health says roughly 10 staff — including some from pediatric surgical and recovery units — are being temporarily reassigned to help at Health Sciences Centre Children’s ICU.
Officials say a resurgence in respiratory illness circulating in the province is to blame for an uptick in kids ending up in the hospital’s ICU.
There were 17 kids receiving intensive care in the PICU as of Thursday morning. The PICU’s normal baseline capacity is nine.
“A significant number of these patients were experiencing medically complex cases that were further complicated by respiratory illness, including infants and young children,” Shared Health said in an online statement.
There were 51 patients in the hospital’s neonatal ICU Thursday morning. The normal baseline capacity there is 50.
Meanwhile, Shared Health says the number of kids visiting the ER with influenza-like symptoms has increased from a low of 22 on March 18 to 47 on Wednesday.
Shared Health didn’t say how long it expects the latest staff reassignments will be in place.
While all urgent and life-threatening surgeries will continue to be performed, Shared Health said some non-urgent procedures will be postponed.
Families of affected patients will be contacted, officials said.