Kitchener-Waterloo

Guelph's ICU beds are full, Waterloo region's average 86%

Hospitals in Waterloo region and Wellington County continue to "exhaust every option" as their intensive care units and acute care occupancy nears - and even hits - capacity this week. 

Even if more beds were available, staffing would remain a problem: spokesperson

Paramedics transfer a person from ambulance into a hospital. On Tuesday, hospitals in Waterloo region and Wellington County said their intensive care units were between 81 and 100 per cent capacity. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Hospitals in Waterloo region and Wellington County continue to "exhaust every option" as their intensive care units and acute care occupancy near and even hit capacity this week. 

A report distributed Tuesday showed Guelph General Hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) was at 100 per cent capacity.  Occupancy at other ICUs in the combined Waterloo Wellington health district were:

  • Grand River Hospital: 90 per cent.
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital: 86 per cent
  • St. Mary's General Hospital: 81 per cent.

Acute care beds are at an average of 93 per cent occupancy in the Waterloo Wellington health care district, with Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Guelph General Hospital nearly at 100 per cent occupancy (99 per cent and 98 per cent respectively). 

While ICU beds are used for patients who are critically ill, with complex needs and fragile health, acute care beds are for patients whose health is slightly more stable: pre-COVID-19, this would typically be where patients would recover from surgery.

Can't keep up

Lee Fairclough, Waterloo Wellington hospital regional lead, COVID-19 response, said despite pulling out all the stops, hospitals just haven't been able to keep up. 

"Despite adding more beds, hiring additional staff and last week, suspending non-urgent and non-emergent services, our hospitals are near or past capacity," said Fairclough in a news release. 

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"Even with net new beds that have been opened in the region, today we are challenged to see more patients with less staff. Over 500 staff across our hospitals are impacted by COVID and not able to come to work. This is impacting our ability to provide care," said Fairclough.

On Tuesday, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 600 ICU beds available across Ontario, and that the province had the ability to add nearly 500 more, if required. 

A spokesperson for the hospitals told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo that, even if more beds were added locally, staffing them would remain an issue.

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