Ontario hospitals to ramp down elective surgeries amid increasing number of COVID-19 cases
‘We must carefully consider how to best maximize resources,’ Health Minister says
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott on Sunday requested hospitals throughout the province ramp down on elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activities.
Elliott said in a news release that the recommendation was made in consultation with the Ontario Hospital Association and the province's chief medical officer of health.
"Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has been diligently monitoring and taking decisive action to contain the spread of this new virus and ensure the province's health-care system is ready for any scenario," Elliott said.
"At the same time, we must also carefully consider how to best maximize resources and prioritize services."
On Sunday the province saw the biggest single-day jump of new COVID-19 cases with 43, pushing the total to 146.
Among the newly confirmed cases, 14 patients are in Toronto, five are in Peel Region and three are in York Region. Two are from Grey Bruce and were recently on a cruise, while another is from Peterborough and recently travelled to Spain and Portugal. Three are in Hamilton and one is in Sudbury.
All are self-isolating, except one person in Simcoe-Muskoka who is hospitalized.
Five of those patients are no longer infectious, the provincial government said on its website.
The province is also asking hospitals to follow some guiding principles as they deal with patients who have contracted COVID-19.
It includes using an ethical framework to guide decision-making, preventing high risk and occult transmission, and developing and preserving capacity within the system.
"The approach that we are taking will provide the necessary discretion for hospitals to make decisions based on local circumstances while preserving the ability for the province to take a more prescriptive approach, should it be warranted based on evidence," Elliott said.
In consultation with the Ontario Hospital Association, we're asking hospitals to further implement pandemic plans by carefully ramping down elective surgeries. Doing so will help preserve capacity to respond to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID%E3%83%BC19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVIDー19</a>. A statement will follow shortly.—@celliottability
With files from Desmond Brown