Ontario hospitals told to prepare for surge capacity within 48 hours

Dec 16 2020, 9:58 am

The CEO of Ontario Health is calling on hospitals to prepare for the surge of COVID-19 patients within 48 hours as a spike in cases could overwhelm the healthcare system.

On Tuesday, Ontario Health Preside Matt Anderson sent out a memo to hospital CEO’s stating the province has entered a “critical phase” of the pandemic with widespread community transmission.

“Our ability to care for patients (COVID and non-COVID alike) is being challenged, so we are asking hospitals to work together, even more, to ensure we can continue to have the bed capacity to care for patients, safely and effectively,” the memo said.

“With this in mind, I am requesting that, if you have not done so already, hospitals immediately begin working with their regional/sub-regional COVID-19 response structures, or incident management systems (IMS), to be prepared to and/or activate surge capacity planning within 48 hours to support efforts across your regions.”

Anderson said hospitals in the Grey-Lockdown and Red-Control levels must ensure at least 10 to 15% surge capacity of staffed adult inpatient beds for COVID-19 within 48 hours.

For hospitals in Green, Orange and Yellow levels, they must plan immediately on how to incrementally create at least 10 to 15% surge capacity of staffed adult inpatient beds to care for COVID-19.

The memo arrived as cases in the province have been above 2,000 for the last two days, with Monday’s 2,275 and Tuesday’s 2,139.

And hospitals across the province are also reaching capacity for ICU occupancy.

To date, Ontario has seen 146,535 coronavirus cases and 4,035 deaths.