Chatham-Kent Hospital sees arrival of first GTA COVID patients

·2 min read

Three COVID patients from outside the municipality, including some from the Greater Toronto Area, have arrived in Chatham-Kent for treatment.

Chatham-Kent, along with all municipalities in Ontario, was told April 8 to pause all elective and non-urgent surgeries to free up room for COVID patients from hotspot areas such as Toronto where hospitals were being overwhelmed.

But Chatham-Kent Health Alliance President & CEO Lori Marshall says even with the new arrivals the hospital still has plenty of capacity. Hospitals must keep critical care capacity at 85 per cent or less under the new orders. April 29 there were six total COVID patients, two of them in the intensive care unit on ventilators.

“We continue to be prepared for transfers from the GTA,” says Marshall. She says some patients who arrived here from the Toronto area have even been treated and discharged already.

Hospitals in non-hotspots were originally told some elective procedures could continue after the announcement. But as more patients have been transferred out of Toronto all non-emergency procedures are now on hold.

“We continue to be under the provincial directive that we cannot proceed with elective surgeries at this stage,” says Marshall. “We continue to provide our urgent and emergency surgical services and we look forward to being able to resume elective surgeries as soon as we possibly can.”

Last month the province also said redeployment of staff to reinforce hotspot hospitals may be necessary. Marshall says Chatham-Kent staff haven’t been called on yet, but are ready.

“We did put out a call for volunteers and there are some individuals who have stepped forward and are certainly on the list in the event that they are in fact required,” she says.

Hospital occupancy was 79 per cent last Thursday. Critical care occupancy, a combination of intensive care and progressive care beds, was 64 per cent. Five of 10 ICU beds were occupied.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

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