Ontario hospitals face staffing challenges as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Ontario hospitals are feeling the brunt of a spike in COVID-19 cases as the virus spreads through the province at a record rate and infects large numbers of patients and healthcare workers.

The situation has become so dire that some hospital networks report hundreds of their employees have tested positive for the virus, have symptoms, or are in isolation following exposure.

Kevin Smith, president and chief executive officer of the University of Toronto Health Network, said those factors combined have resulted in the absence of at least a hundred employees a day because the Omicron variant has the potential High transmission capacity has caused the number of cases to rise to an all-time high in the province.

“None of the health care workers are growing the trees, so it’s in very limited supply and they’re in high demand everywhere,” Smith said in a phone interview.

The number of staff unable to work at UHN’s five facilities in recent weeks, including Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret hospitals, is higher than what the facilities experienced during previous waves of virus infections. there.

The high number of staff unavailability comes as Smith notices fewer people entering the hospital with severe viral illness. This is despite the fact that Public Health Ontario reported 16,714 new infections on Sunday and 18,445 on Saturday, noting that both numbers are considered lower.

The number of active cases in the province has now passed the 100,000 mark.

The Ontario Hospital Association tweeted Sunday that 218 adult patients with critical illness related to COVID-19 were treated in intensive care units, with 112 on ventilators. The numbers bring the seven-day average of critically ill patients with COVID-19 in ICUs to 195.

While Smith said staff are managing the current stock of books well, he wonders if the situation is changing.

“Obviously I worry that as we engage people in increasingly large amounts of social interaction, including in schools and other settings, there is a risk of further contagion,” he said. and substantial.

“Our hope is that such populations will not require hospitalization, but we have to be prepared for the fact that they will because in other countries we are seeing hospitalization rates of children is increasing.”

In preparation, Smith is urging Health Canada to immediately approve Paxlovid, Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral drug, for emergency use.

He is also considering redeploying staff to areas where they are most needed and pulling hospital doctors and nurses back into vaccine clinics, where they can be replaced by caregivers. health is otherwise specified.

To the west of Toronto, similar moves are being considered at Hamilton Health Sciences, which operates Hamilton General Hospital.

Earlier in the week, the organization’s President Rob MacIsaac asked holiday, part-time and casual employees to earn overtime in exchange for premiums paid through January 5.

He made the call as the new year kicked off with at least 411 of his employees in home isolation and numerous outbreaks across his hospital sites.

“Unfortunately, the Omicron variant took us back some steps,” he said in a news release. “As a result, we are once again facing tremendous pressures around hospital utilization and staffing.”

His hospitals have seen an increase in the number of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. Many people have been hospitalized due to medical conditions unrelated to the virus, he said.

More than 100 inpatients at his hospitals are positive for COVID-19 as of December 31 and December 13 are being treated in intensive care units.

Emergency department volumes simultaneously exceed pre-pandemic volumes, and the number of patients arriving in hospital by ambulance increases daily.

In addition to requiring healthcare workers to take on extra shifts and overtime, he said his organization will move to “extraordinary measures” such as reducing the “procedural and scheduled care” required. Starting January 4th to move resources to the “most needed” areas.

He also said he will soon share more information about the plan to call back asymptomatic staff with a negative rapid antigen test, currently in home isolation, as well as efforts to deploy staff from the regions. ambulance to support inpatient care.


Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button