ICU admissions up as Omicron sweeps Ontario

·3 min read
The number of people who are currently in intensive care units as a result of COVID-19 is now 412, up from 385 on Saturday. The number of people who require a ventilator to breathe is up by seven to 226 on Sunday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
The number of people who are currently in intensive care units as a result of COVID-19 is now 412, up from 385 on Saturday. The number of people who require a ventilator to breathe is up by seven to 226 on Sunday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Ontario confirmed at least 11,959 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, although — as experts continue to caution — the real number is thought to be substantially higher given reduced access to PCR testing.

The number of people hospitalized as a result of the virus now sits at 2,419, down slightly from Saturday's pandemic high of 2,594. However, that number is potentially lower than reality given that not all provincial hospitals report figures on weekends.

The number of people who are currently in intensive care units as a result of COVID-19 is now 412, up from 385 on Saturday. The number of people who require a ventilator to breathe is up by seven to 226 on Sunday.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health's daily provincial update:

Tests completed: 49,442.

Provincewide test positivity rate: 27.7 per cent, down from Saturday's single-day high of 30.6 per cent.

Active cases: 137,822.

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 412; 226 needed a ventilator to breathe.

Deaths: 20, pushing the official toll to 10,366.

Vaccinations: 133,661 doses were administered on Saturday, down from 184,101 doses on Friday. To date, the province has administered 28,457,813 doses. Currently, 91.1 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 or older have received one dose of a vaccine, while 88.4 per cent have received two doses.

Ontario: New daily cases of COVID-19

Staff shortage takes toll on Toronto paramedics

A union representing paramedics in Toronto tweeted a "Code Red" alert on Saturday night, saying there were no response units available in the city around 7 p.m.

TPS Unit Local 416 vice chair Peter Shirer didn't know how long the status lasted, but called it a symptom of a decade old problem that's now being exacerbated by Omicron.

Shirer estimated 10 per cent of Toronto paramedics may currently be isolating. That, coupled with an increase in virus related call volume, has taken its toll.

COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals and ICUs

"There's a lot more pressure with us servicing calls right now in the fifth wave of a two-year-long pandemic," Shirer said, adding that while he didn't have statistics on how often code reds are called, "it certainly seems anecdotally that we have a higher incidence of greater strain on the medics I represent."

Brad Ross, chief communications officer for the City of Toronto, said in an emailed statement that it's not uncommon for all ambulances to be on call one moment and freed up the next.

Ross said Toronto Fire Services has been responding temporarily to a number of low-priority calls. But if a patient needs a paramedic, Toronto Fire will call for them.

"There remains significant pressure in hospitals resulting in paramedics being delayed with off-loading patients," Ross said. "This issue is unfortunately common right now around the world."

Toronto's paramedics aren't the only ones dealing with recent Omicron-related strain.

Durham Region tweeted on Wednesday that there were "no ambulances on the road" at one point on Tuesday, with crews from York and Kawartha Lakes brought in to respond to two calls.

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