Windsor Essex region hospitals reporting bed capacity concerns

Windsor Essex region hospitals reporting bed capacity concerns
© Mike Evans/CBC Wait times at the emergency room, as well as wait times for ambulances, may be longer than usual.

Windsor Essex region hospitals, the region’s paramedics and the health unit are cautioning residents about capacity pressures across the acute care system.

Patients should expect longer than usual wait times in emergency rooms, and treatment for non-emergency injuries “will be much longer than usual,” a news release said.

Ambulance wait times may also be longer than usual.

Dr. Wassim Saad, chief of staff at Windsor Regional Hospital, said there are currently 10 people in the intensive care unit (ICU) with COVID-19, the first time in several months there have been cases in the double digits in that unit.

“What we’re seeing now that is concerning is we know that hospital admissions and ICU admissions in particular are a trailing indicator to what’s happening in the community,” he said.

“We know that community rates are rising, we know that the positivity rate is on the rise and there does not seem to be a plateauing or a decrease in those community rates and as a result we’re now seeing double digit ICU admissions and 18 patients in our hospital with COVID-positive infections.”

“There’s no question, not just at Windsor Regional Hospital but across the province, the vast majority of those patients that are in hospital and those that are in ICU are unvaccinated.”

He said people who are fully vaccinated, who are in hospital or ICU with COVID-19, have comorbities. 

Windsor Essex region hospitals reporting bed capacity concerns
© Jennifer La Grassa/CBC ‘It is a bit uncommon and unusual to see this many, especially this many transferred outside of Windsor. We’ve normally been able to look after the pediatric population,’ says Dr. Wassim Saad of a spike of respiratory illnesses among kids.

Video: Even New Brunswickers with doctors can’t get timely health care, survey finds (cbc.ca)

He said on top of rising COVID numbers there has also been an increase in respiratory illnesses among adults and children, with the latter presenting with severe cases.

“It’s gotten to the point where we’ve seen such a rise in cases that we’ve had to transfer children under the age of two outside of Windsor for their care because they required a higher level of acute care,” he said.

Through October, November and first two days of December, Windsor Regional Hospital transferred 11 pediatric patients suffering from a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to either London, Ont., or Detroit.

Only three pediatric patients were transferred in the same period last year.

Saad said the hospital has a capable team and neonatal ICU here but there’s a lot more patients presenting with more severe symptoms.

“It is a bit uncommon and unusual to see this many, especially this many transferred outside of Windsor. We’ve normally been able to look after the pediatric population,” he said.

“But with the numbers that we’re seeing and the number of patients we’ve had to transfer out, it’s become concerning.” 

Saad said right now the system is withstanding the pressure, but it won’t be able to take much more.

“With the pattern of positivity and higher rates in the community that we’re seeing over the past several weeks, coupled with the higher rates of admissions right now and our ICU capacity, the pattern and the trend is looking like it’s going to mean more ICU admissions and more hospitalizations with COVID,” he said.

“What that usually means is you’re pulling physicians, nurses, resources from other parts of the hospital in which case some care may be affect, and obviously it would start with elective care, elective surgeries.”

If anyone has symptoms, they should go to an assessment centre, Saad said.

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