Hamilton's hospital system 'under strain' as over 200 people admitted with COVID-19
'There is not a lot of capacity beyond where we currently are,' HHS CEO Rob MacIsaac says
Hamilton hospital managers say their institutions are under tremendous pressure with more than 200 people admitted with COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
"The system is definitely under strain," Rob MacIsaac, chief executive officer at Hamilton Health Sciences, said at a media briefing Tuesday evening.
"We have a very limited capacity to take on significant new numbers of patients; we're currently operating over capacity I think across the whole of the city."
Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS) said there are 146 patients with COVID-19 at Hamilton Health Sciences — 23 of them in the intensive care unit (ICU).
At St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, 57 patients are hospitalized. Six of them are in the ICU.
Four hundred and ninety-four Hamilton Health Sciences employees are self-isolating at home, while 143 employees from St. Joe's are self-isolating, HPHS said.
"There is not a lot of capacity beyond where we currently are," MacIsaac said.
"I think as additional people show up and more calls are made on the system, it will increasingly strain our ability to deliver quality care to patients who arrive.
"The staffing ratios to patients, and so on, will continue to deteriorate. ... we're we're very concerned by where we are today and the outlook, and that's why we're really imploring people to do all they can to respect the public health measures, which are being promulgated."
'Deeply concerned' about next few weeks
Melissa Farrell, president of St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, agrees with MacIsaac about the dire state of the health system and the number of COVID-19 cases soaring due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
"If we're getting asked to create more ICU beds, more capacity, I don't think we have the ability to do that at this point in time.
"So, we're really managing with the capacity that we currently have. It is fluid within the organizations, but the system is under strain and we are deeply concerned about what lies ahead for us over the next few weeks."
More than 1.5 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to public health figures.
A total of 417 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hamilton on Tuesday. The seven-day average currently sits at 708.
On Monday, there were 2,271 new cases of COVID-19. This number included cases reported over the weekend.
Ontario has recently changed its testing guidelines, and the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates roughly one in five cases are currently being confirmed by the current testing regime.
51 active outbreaks
There are at least 51 active COVID-19 outbreaks in the city, including one at the Wellington Nursing Home with 25 cases and another at Hamilton General Hospital's 8S Medicine Unit with 24 cases.
There are seven other outbreaks with more than 10 cases. These are:
- HHS Juravinski Hospital, Unit E3: 23 cases.
- Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre: 18 cases.
- St. Joseph's Hospital Mary Grace Wing: 16 cases.
- Extendicare Hamilton: 15 cases.
- Amica Stoney Creek Retirement Home: 14 cases.
- HHS Satellite Health Facility, 150 King St. E.: 14 cases.
- St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton Clinical Teaching Unit West: 11 cases.