Ontario unveils plan to resume elective surgeries and procedures

Ontario unveils plan to resume elective surgeries and procedures
TORONTO -- The Ontario government has unveiled a plan for how the province will begin to safely resume scheduled surgeries and procedures.

On March 15, the province began to slow down scheduled surgical and procedural work in order to create capacity for hospitals in case there was a massive surge in COVID-19 patients.

While this directive is still in place, the Ministry of Health says it may be possible for hospitals to begin planning for the gradual resumption of surgeries and procedures that have been postponed.

"Although Ontario may be very slowly gaining the upper hand in this pandemic, there is an ongoing risk of local, rolling mini-surges in either community or congregate settings," the ministry said in a release on Thursday.

The government said this new plan would allow for some surgeries and procedures to resume while the province also ensures there is capacity for any COVID-19 surge.

The province said there are a number of factors to consider before going ahead with surgeries, including the safety of the patient and health-care workers and the therapeutic benefit of treatment against the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

The province has not announced a specific date for when surgeries and procedures can continue.

The government is recommending the following be considered before surgeries and procedures can restart:

Health Minister Christine Elliott said last week that cancer and cardiac surgeries "would be among the first" to return, along with hip and knee replacements and suggested that the province is working to create a "COVID-free" hospitals dedicated to performing urgently needed surgeries.
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