Convoy of trucks: Ottawa hospitals feel the impact

Hospital staff in Ottawa are struggling with travel delays and some patients worry about accessing care as the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests stretch into a week and the city faces a state of emergency.

Hopital Montfort and Ottawa Hospital The campuses, which provide regular traffic updates on Twitter, have faced challenges despite being far from the city centre.

Some employees at Montfort, who normally have to cross one of the bridges connecting Ottawa to Quebec, ended up staying in hospital-supplied hotel rooms last weekend due to traffic concerns, according to a report. hospital spokesman. However, the situation is slightly better than at the beginning of last week.

Genevieve Picard told by phone on Monday: “Last week’s Monday and Tuesday were really bad for our employees trying to get in and get to work, with long delays. ,” Genevieve Picard told by phone.

“We have heard messages from pregnant women about to give birth and they are worried they won’t be able to go to the hospital. And we also know that we have fewer people showing up in emergencies. So these are being taken care of. “

In a follow-up email, Picard added that exceptionally few people showed up to the emergency department over the past two days and said the hospital was reviewing the change to better understand what types of patients didn’t show up.

The hospital is also interested in patients who will be discharged and live in affected areas, Picard said.

“We are concerned about their transportation… We are arranging with social workers or other community services to help them while they are getting better at home, but outreach is a big challenge.”

Last week, Montfort released a statement reminding the public that it remains open and urging those in need of urgent care not to wait and go to the nearest hospital.

Montfort noted at the time that travel delays caused by the protests were also a concern for patients with scheduled appointments for tests and procedures, 45% of staff living in Quebec, and who have to stay late at the end of their shift. Others have been delayed.

Meanwhile, Ottawa Hospital (TOH), which includes Civic and General facilities, told in an emailed statement Monday that it is working closely with the city, police and other agencies. other healthcare partners in the region to minimize any impact on patients. care.

“Ottawa Hospital has felt the impact of the protest in downtown Ottawa,” the statement read.

“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that staff and doctors can get to work on time, emergency vehicles can reach the communities they serve, and patients continue to have access to the care they need.”

The Bruyere Hospital in downtown Ottawa could not be reached for immediate comment.

These challenges include chronic stress, burnout, and burnout that many healthcare workers have had to deal with nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently after Omicron.

Public health authorities say the latest wave may have peaked, but some health experts warn that numbers could rise again once procedures are eased. Experts say it is still too early to say whether the convoy – which has seen protesters gather in crowds without foresight or wearing masks – will affect the spread of the community. copper or hospitalized. The number of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Montfort is now only half what they were two to three weeks ago, Picard said.

Ottawa Public Health told via email that it will continue to monitor activity in the community “as restrictions begin to be lifted and the situation evolves in the coming days and weeks.”

“The Ottawa Department of Public Health continues to focus on increasing vaccine coverage in our communities and reducing barriers to vaccine access,” the spokesperson said.

“In addition to the importance of vaccinations, it’s also important for everyone to continue to practice physical distancing, wear a full mask, and stay home if you’re sick.”

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