Kitchener-Waterloo

Region's ICU beds at 90 per cent capacity now, but that number will change: Hospital president

The head of the COVID-19 response for Waterloo Wellington says the number of people being treated in area ICUs is 'very dynamic' and changes regularly, but 'any transfers that are happening are happening in a very controlled way.'

'This is a very dynamic. It changes day-to-day,' says Lee Fairclough of St. Mary's General Hospital

Lee Fairclough is president of St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener. (St. Mary's General Hospital)

The intensive care beds in the four hospitals of Waterloo-Wellington were at 90 per cent capacity on Wednesday, says the hospital lead for the COVID-19 response in the community.

There were just six beds available between St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener, Grand River Hospital, Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Guelph General Hospital.

But Lee Fairclough, who is also the president of St. Mary's General, says that number can change very quickly and will fluctuate in the coming days and weeks, as will the need to potentially transfer patients.

"We look at this daily to understand what's the current ICU capacity within the region and also to understand what may be needed across the province," Fairclough said. "But I do want to emphasize that this is very dynamic. It changes day-to-day and it's something that we very actively manage."

The region's three hospitals have a combined total of 77 to 80 ICU beds. Fairclough says the hospitals have the ability to convert existing space to open additional beds and spaces if needed. There is the possibility of patients being transferred from within and outside of the region.

Fairclough says because the ICU capacity numbers change regularly it is not something they would report on a daily basis or through the Region of Waterloo Public Health meetings.

"We will support each other within the region, how we need to and can. I think what's important for the public to know is that we're doing that," Fairclough said.

"We're doing it very regularly. We're very well organized around how it could occur. And any transfers that are happening are happening in a very controlled way."

Fairclough gave credit to Dr. Francis Reinders and all the ICU physician leaders within the hospitals who are managing the ICUs.

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