Emergency rooms over capacity at some Outaouais hospitals

·2 min read
Health authorities for the Outaouias say hospitals in the region are seeing emergency rooms well beyond capacity. (Jonathan Dupaul/CBC - image credit)
Health authorities for the Outaouias say hospitals in the region are seeing emergency rooms well beyond capacity. (Jonathan Dupaul/CBC - image credit)

The health authority for the Outaouais says it's seeing emergency rooms in the region becoming overrun, with some well-over capacity in the last week.

On Friday, Maniwaki Hospital saw an occupancy rate of 150 per cent of patients at its emergency department, while Hull Hospital saw 140 per cent. Gatineau Hospital's emergency department was under similar pressure, according to Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSSO).

The hospitals in Wakefield and Pontiac have been less hard hit, according to the region's health authorities. Shawville's emergency department had every bed free Friday.

Health officials said the cause of the congestion comes from both COVID-19 patients but also people with severe health problems.

They said the congestion is also in part because of an influx of patients with side-effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts are reminding people that side effects are normal and expected.

Dr. Carol McConnery, a medical consultant for CISSSO, said between 50 and 60 per cent of those vaccinated will develop some form of side effect, including severe fatigue, muscle pain and headaches, which can last for several days after people receive the shot.

Authorities are asking people in the region to consult a family doctor, call 811 or visit a walk-in clinic before going to the hospital unless it's an emergency.

Ottawa hospitals deal with surge

In recent weeks, Ontario hospitals have also been pushed to the limit, mostly because of a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals in the province were ordered to postpone non-emergency surgeries three weeks ago to free up staff to deal with the influx.

Both The Ottawa Hospital and Queensway Carleton Hospital have moved to Level 2 of their COVID-19 response plan.

That involves increasing bed capacity and redeploying staff from other units as non-emergency procedures and services are reduced.