Toronto

Ontario hospitals to ramp down elective surgeries amid increasing number of COVID-19 cases

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott on Sunday requested hospitals throughout the province ramp down on elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activities.

‘We must carefully consider how to best maximize resources,’ Health Minister says

Health Minister Christine Elliott has asked hospitals throughout the province to ramp down on elective surgeries and other non-emergent clinical activities. (CBC News)

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.

With files from Desmond Brown

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.