‘Patients will die’: Doctors warn hospitals bursting as coronavirus cases soar
|globalnews.ca 16 Nov 2020 at 15:05|
According to recent data released by Quebec’s health and social services institute (INESSS ), the province does not expect hospital capacity to be exceeded over the next few weeks in November, particularly in Montreal.
According to documents from the province’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission released in early October, while the province has plenty of physical spaces set to handle an influx in patients, which include many field hospitals ready to go, there is no one to staff them.
“The challenge is that long-term care homes, hospitals, home care, are all facing human resource shortages right now, and so it is not actually the physical capacity we are worried about right now,” Gillian Kernaghan, the CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ont., told the commission.
According to the province, as of last week, Alberta’s ICU beds that are dedicated to COVID-19 patients were 77 per cent full, a number that’s sharply risen in the last two weeks.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) said Friday it has a “robust and detailed plan to provide the additional and necessary capacity needed for a surge of additional inpatients.”
“Ensuring capacity is available for COVID-19 patients could involve limiting hospital admissions and ICU admissions by postponing scheduled surgery,” AHS said in an email. “Postponing elective procedures would allow for the potential use of operating rooms and surgical recovery rooms as additional ICU space.”
At the beginning of November, the province shared details of its plan for expanding hospital capacity during the ongoing pandemic. Health officials said the number of critical care beds available in Manitoba could be tripled if a surge of COVID-19 cases pushes capacity limits.
‘It’s scary’: Winnipeg hospital doctor worried about ICUs and lack of capacity
‘It’s scary’: Winnipeg hospital doctor worried about ICUs and lack of capacity – Oct 30, 2020
The plan includes repurposing some existing hospital space for intensive care, bringing in students and retired staff to bolster the ranks and, if need be, securing space in large venues, such as convention centres, and moving some hospital patients there.
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The goal of flattening the curve of coronavirus is to prevent hospitals and intensive care units from being overwhelmed. For example, in the spring, in New York City, — when the virus ran rampant in the city — hospitals used convention centres as a temporary location for beds and utilized refrigerated trucks as morgues.
At the beginning of October, when COVID-19 cases started to spike again, the president of the Ontario Hospital Association said it was looking at setting up field hospitals, using hotel rooms for patients and taking over space in long-term care homes, in order to increase capacity.