Beginning immediately, local hospitals will provide twice-weekly updates to the community on the status of hospital care in the Waterloo Wellington area. In these Tuesday and Friday updates, we will provide details on emergency department (ED) visits, hospital occupancy, the number, age grouping and vaccination status of patients admitted for COVID-19 care, and the number of hospital staff impacted by COVID-19.
The report for today, January 07, 2022 accompanies this release, and does not include data on ED visit trends and COVID-19 hospitalizations by patient vaccination status, which will come in subsequent releases.
Because of the alarming rate at which Omicron is spreading, both patient occupancy and work shortages have increased sharply over the past week.
Patient admissions related to COVID-19 have significantly increased both locally and provincially. Although Omicron appears to be resulting in milder illness, the sheer number of infections is resulting in thousands of patients sick enough to be admitted to and receiving hospital care every day in Ontario. Patients with moderate and severe COVID-19 symptoms are being admitted alongside patients with other serious conditions requiring acute care. Whether admitted for COVID-19 or found to be positive after arrival, both health human resources and space for isolation is required, impacting capacity and flow within all hospitals.
Bed capacity and staffing shortages in Waterloo Wellington (WW) hospitals--and the broader Ontario healthcare system--were a challenge pre-pandemic. Many of our hospitals have opened more beds through the pandemic and hired hundreds of new staff to support the increased capacity. Now, these areas of pressure have reached a critical level again, impacting our ability to provide services. We are grateful that because of strong vaccination policies across the WW hospital system, most staff who are impacted by COVID-19 experience mild illness and can be returned to work as quickly and safely as possible.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health has directed hospitals to suspend all non-urgent and non-emergent services so that we can redeploy staff and resources to where they are most needed to manage the increased number of hospitalizations, staffing issues and care for patients with urgent concerns. We know this has personal impacts for those that are waiting for care or procedures that have been postponed. We will monitor our situation closely and return these services as soon as safe and feasible.
Though it has been a challenging time, all of us working in health care draw comfort when we imagine what this wave could have looked like if we didn’t have vaccines or the ongoing support of this community to get vaccinated including boosters. We have appreciated how the community has supported public health measures that include reducing contacts, wearing masks, and what it has meant with this week’s announcement of the move to a modified Step 2. Thank you for your continued to support. We know the pandemic has been long.
Our teams at the hospitals will continue to be there for you. We appreciate your support and understanding as we work again through this challenging wave.
President, St. Mary’s General Hospital
President and CEO, Grand River Hospital
President and CEO, Cambridge Memorial Hospital
President and CEO, Wellington Health Care Alliance
President and CEO, Guelph General Hospital
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Wellington Health Care Alliance
Groves Memorial Community Hospital
North Wellington Health Care
519-843-2010 ext. 47614
Manager, Public Affairs & Communications
Cambridge Memorial Hospital
t: 519-621-2333 ext. 2427
Manager, Communications and Engagement
Grand River Hospital
t: 519-749-4300 ext. 3880
Senior Communications Specialist
Guelph General Hospital
519-837-6440 ext. 2774
St. Mary’s General Hospital
Report (January 7) - WW Hospital Omicron Report 01072022.pdf