Windsor, Ont., hospital postpones elective surgeries after Jan. 4 due to COVID surge

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WINDSOR, Ont. — A Windsor, Ont., hospital will indefinitely postpone all non-urgent elective surgeries starting early next month as it grapples with COVID-19 hospitalizations that are rising “at an alarming rate.”

Windsor Regional Hospital said in a Tuesday statement that the decision was difficult but necessary as rising COVID-19 admissions could mean a “critical shortage” of available acute care beds.

Dr. Wassim Saad, chief of staff at the hospital, said the local situation with the pandemic is having "significant" implications for ICU bed occupancy and staffing.

Saad also noted that staffing resources were under pressure from two COVID-19 assessment centres and a vaccination centre in the city.

Surgeries will be postponed for an indefinite period and Saad said capacity will be reassessed regularly.

"We are doing our best to keep bed capacity available as our patient volumes increase during the second wave of this COVID-19 pandemic, while also conserving our hospital resources for the most urgent needs," Saad said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the hospital announced elective surgeries requiring overnight stays would be deferred starting Jan. 4. Day surgeries will also be postponed indefinitely as of the same date.

The hospital total number of surgeries will be cut by about 50 per cent.

Surgeons are being asked to assess their elective cases booked after Jan. 4 and notify affected patients.

The hospital said it will still perform surgeries deemed urgent by its surgical team and will prioritize cancer surgeries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press