Area emergency warning: COVID, flu season and ‘a system under pressure’

Area emergency warning: COVID, flu season and ‘a system under pressure’

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising and flu season approaching, bed shortages and long wait times at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital could worsen this winter, officials warned Thursday.

article content

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising and flu season approaching, bed shortages and long wait times at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital could worsen this winter, officials warned Thursday.

Announcement 2

article content

The hospital issued a statement asking the public to avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room as it grapples with the fallout from a staffing shortage, high occupancy rates and a growing number of COVID-19 patients.

article content

“Today we have 27 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s significantly more than we’ve had in recent weeks,” Karen Davies, the hospital’s president and CEO, said in a statement Thursday. “We are experiencing a system under pressure throughout our region. Many of us are operating at critical staffing levels at the same time as we address a surge in patient volume with respiratory illnesses, including COVID.”

The rise in other respiratory viruses, such as colds and flu, will only make the coming weeks more challenging, the hospital said.

Announcement 3

article content

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is already operating above capacity in all areas, including the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. High occupancy rates mean patients stay longer in the ER, leading others to wait longer in the ER, hospital officials said.

“Our emergency department is seeing more patients who have high acuity and a higher level of complexity,” Craig Watkin, vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer, said in a statement.

That’s likely because patients who delay care or don’t have access to care during the pandemic are now coming into the hospital sicker, Watkin added.

Announcement 4

article content

St. Thomas Hospital is asking the public to look for alternative options for non-urgent care instead of visiting the emergency room. That might include contacting a family doctor, visiting a walk-in clinic or urgent care center, or contacting Health Connect Ontario (at 811), a 24/7 service that connects patients with a registered nurse.

It was only last week, for the second time this month, that the London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) was forced to publicly ask Londoners to avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room due to long waiting times. . The wait to see a doctor in his emergency department had reached 20 hours or more for those who had no real emergencies, hospital officials said Oct. 18.

cleon@postmedia.com

twitter.com/CalviatLFPress

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

Commercial

Announcement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there’s an update in a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment