Erie Shores hospital joins Windsor Regional in postponing all non-urgent surgeries

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Due to "an alarming rate" of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and possible shortage of beds, Erie Shores HealthCare said Wednesday that it will indefinitely postpone all non-urgent surgeries and diagnostic imaging.

In a news release Wednesday, the hospital said all of its pre-scheduled elective surgeries and diagnostic imaging testing will be suspended, starting Jan. 4. Starting Wednesday, leadership will also be on-site for 24 hours to support frontline staff.

These moves are taking place, the hospital said, to maintain bed capacity and staffing resources.

The news comes just a day after Windsor Regional Hospital made a similar announcement.

As of Wednesday, there are 90 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 19 in the ICU. In addition, there are 130 suspected cases in hospital, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Erie Shores said it will continue to perform surgeries for emergencies and urgent surgeries that are deemed to be a priority by its surgical team, including cancer surgeries.

"Windsor-Essex currently has the highest per capita rate of COVID cases in Ontario. As a result, we have seen an increase in related pressures on our hospital over the past month and we anticipate these pressures will continue or increase over the coming 6-8 weeks," said hospital chief of staff Dr. Ross Moncur.

"In order to be available to provide care to the sickest patients in our community, we now need to again prioritize procedures and surgeries and postpone any elective procedures until this surge is over."

Surgeons are going to review their elective cases booked from Jan. 4 and onwards to contact patients to inform them of their postponements, the hospital said.