TORONTO — Ontario's health system is preparing for drastic measures needed to deal with a growing wave of COVID-19 that's infecting people at an unprecedented rate.
All non-urgent surgeries across the province will be paused starting Wednesday to free up space and staff as the Omicron variant is expected to sicken more people.
The medical vice president of the agency overseeing the province's hospital system says pressure is stemming from the large number of patients being hospitalized and staff absences.
Chris Simpson of Ontario Health says staff need to be redeployed to hospital wards dealing with shortages or to help admit people who are sick with COVID-19.
Simpson says fewer people are experiencing COVID pneumonia during the Omicron wave, but many are being hospitalized for short stays or with chronic illnesses worsened by a COVID-19 infection.
One Toronto-area hospital network declared a Code Orange this week due to a lack of resources, requiring patient transfers and other measures, and Simpson says it's a situation that will likely be seen elsewhere.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2022.
The Canadian Press