Some Ontario hospitals declare "code orange" due to nursing shortage

Jan 4 2022, 4:31 pm

At least one hospital network has entered into a “code orange” due to nursing shortages and rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

William Osler Health Network entered stage two of code orange on Monday. The network runs three hospitals: Etobicoke General, Peel Memorial, and Brampton Civic.

“Osler has enacted all contingency planning and has reached Stage 2 of a Code Orange, which is typically used when demand outpaces capacity to ensure internal and external resources are deployed efficiently,” Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO of William Osler Health System, said in a press release.

According to the Ontario Hospital Association, a code orange indicates disaster.

“This move will enable us to continue to provide high-quality care to our patients, and we are grateful to our staff, physicians and volunteers who have moved swiftly to enact our Code Orange policy and procedures,” said Dr. Mohammad.

ontario code orange

Ontario Hospital Association

As a result of the code orange and in line with new provincial restrictions, William Osler hospitals have cancelled all non-emergent programs and services.

An emergency room physician with University Health Network tweeted that Brampton Civic hospital declared a code orange because it is operating with only 50% of the required nurses.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Ontario reached 1,290 on Tuesday, with 266 patients in ICU.

In November, Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table warned that hospitals in the province couldn’t handle another wave of COVID-19 admissions. The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario said that the new restrictions are “too little, too late.”

The network of hospitals was hit hard during previous waves of the pandemic. They will once again be transferring patients to neighbouring hospitals to free up capacity within the Osler network.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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