Southern Ontario COVID patients being transferred to northern hospitals
SUDBURY -- Health Sciences North will receive its first COVID-19 patient transfer from a Greater Toronto Area hospital in the coming days.
Ontario hospitals are reaching a critical point for patient care. There are now more than 2,300 people hospitalized in the province and almost 800 are in intensive care.
Dominic Giroux, CEO and president of Health Sciences North, said this is just the first of many transfers he expects to come over the coming days, weeks and maybe even months.
“There have been hundreds -- if not thousands -- of transfers of critical care patients already among southern Ontario hospitals," Giroux said. "Now this week what we are seeing is similar requests coming to northern Ontario.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the hospital in Sudbury has 22 COVID patients being cared for, with five of those individuals in the ICU.
“Our baseline capacity in the intensive care unit is 41 and we currently have 29 occupied, so that’s a 71 per cent occupancy rate,” said Giroux.
In North Bay, the regional health centre said Tuesday it is awaiting transfer requests.
“We will receive our instructions on patient transfers from the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre,” said Lindsay Smylie Smith, of the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
"NBRHC has not yet received a COVID-19 patient transfer from another facility, however we anticipate we will receive a COVID patient in the next 24 to 48 hours."
Smith said they can accommodate 16 critical care patients, plus an additional five, if necessary.
"Some ways to create acute occupancy at our health centre could include transfer of alternate level of care patients and a potential ramp down of surgical services," she said.
In a statement, Sault Area Hospital officials said they are preparing to receive COVID patients from the Toronto area.
“SAH expects to receive one to two patients a day, depending on critical care capacity in our hospital," the statement said. "SAH, along with partners from across the region and the province, continue to plan for the management of a surge in COVID-19 patients, and the implementation of any needed escalating response actions will be determined by overall capacity pressures at the local, regional, and provincial health-system levels."
To date, the Sault hospital hasn't had to cancel any elective surgeries or non-urgent procedures.
"We will continue to monitor our overall capacity and are committed to informing the community of any changes,” the statement said.
CTV News has reached out to Timmins & District Hospital about receiving transfer requests and has not heard back.