Ontario health minister says hospitals are "not in crisis" amid second COVID-19 wave

Dec 2 2020, 11:10 am

Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott said that hospitals in the province are “not in crisis” even as cases surge amid the second COVID-19 wave.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Elliott said there is “no question that many Ontario hospitals are under stress right now, particularly in the lockdown areas.”

She addressed the struggles being experienced at Scarborough General Hospital, which is having “a difficult time” when conducting the volume of tests, procedures, and surgeries that were postponed during the first wave.

“But to say that they’re in crisis is not the case. Alberta is in crisis; when you have to have double cohorts in a single intensive care room, that’s a crisis. We are not at that stage,” Elliott emphasized.

She said that the province has built capacity knowing there would be an increase of COVID-19 cases in the fall, while keeping other surgeries and procedures going.

“There is more we need to work on, but we are in regular contact with the Ontario Hospital Association and the hospitals experiencing these sorts of stresses…we have rooms for people and ventilators if they need them, we’re ready for surges.”

Elliott added that the lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region and further restrictions in other regions were implemented to “bend the curve” to reduce numbers and help relieve pressures on the healthcare system.

Ontario has been experiencing high rates of COVID-19 cases, and health officials noted that the province could have up to 9,000 cases a day by the end of the year.

It was also noted that ICU occupancy continues to increase and will hit 200 beds in December under any scenario — the threshold is 150.

To date, Ontario has seen 119,922 coronavirus cases and 3,698 deaths.

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