Windsor Regional Hospital to halt all non-essential surgeries

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Windsor Regional Hospital says that is it halting all non-essential surgical procedures as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise at an "alarming" rate.

In a statement, the hospital said the "difficult but necessary" decision comes as its facilities face a potentially critical shortage of acute care beds, including critical care beds.

As of Monday, there are 60 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Windsor Regional Hospital facilities, and a further 160 people are suspected of having the virus or awaiting test results.

"The current situation with COVID-19 in our hospital and in our community is creating significant implications for our hospital and our ICU bed occupancy, as well as human resource limitations given the need to support services outside the operating rooms and/or hospital," WRH Chief of Staff Dr. Wassim Saad said in a statement.

The cancellations are effective as of Jan. 4, the hospital said.

Earlier this month, the hospital cancelled non-urgent surgeries requiring a hospital stay, such as hip and knee replacements.

The new cancellations apply to all pre-scheduled, non-urgent and elective procedures.

The move will halve the current number of surgeries performed, according to the hospital.

Urgent and emergency procedures will go ahead, and cancer patients will continue to be prioritized, the hospital said.

The facility is also facing pressure on its staffing resources from operating a COVID-19 vaccination centre along with two testing centres.

The hospital said it plans to expand hours at the Met Campus COVID-19 testing facility at a future date.