Update on hospital capacity and planning for ramp up

February 16, 2022

With the steady decline in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and ICU admissions across Ontario, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a revision to Directive #2 outlining a gradual, cautious resumption to some hospital services previously paused. This includes: diagnostic imaging, cancer screening, scheduled ambulatory care, and a cautious resumption of non-urgent/emergent surgeries and procedures.
Unfortunately, our reality in Haldimand-Norfolk and across our region remains highly pressured. We’re still feeling the burden of the Omicron wave and continue to see an inordinately high demand for hospital care. This week at NGH alone:

• Overall adult acute inpatient occupancy exceeded 104%. For context, the generally accepted “ideal” maximum occupancy for an acute care hospital is between 85-90%.

• Intensive care unit capacity exceeded 88-113%.

The situation is consistent across the Hamilton-Niagara-Haldimand-Brant-Burlington (HNHBB) region. As of February 14:

• HNHBB hospitals have transferred 31 critical care patients since Jan. 9, 2022 to other regions to create more in-region capacity. We’ve enacted a shared approach to enabling transfers on an as-needed basis, focusing on patients who are the most medically suitable for transfer. Patient transfers are very challenging situations but, unfortunately, we’re left with no other option as critical care patient volumes remain high.

We will proceed with extreme caution
Given all of this, NGH is not yet in a position to resume paused services on a significant scale. Although we have initiated ramp-up planning, we will proceed very cautiously with service resumption and will coordinate our efforts across all sites and programs. We must be confident that we can maintain access to urgent and emergent care.