Brampton hospital could get ‘significant relief’ from Ontario’s internationally trained healthcare workers: Mayor

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Published January 12, 2022 at 10:38 am

Patrick Brown Brampton

Brampton hospitals could be getting some backup now that the province is enlisting internationally trained healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Health Minister Christine Elliott made the announcement on Tuesday, saying some 1,200 applicants have expressed interest in the program which is a partnership with Ontario Health and the Colleges of Nurses of Ontario.

With Brampton hospitals and healthcare facilities dealing with staffing shortages, outbreaks and shutdowns, Brown said the extra healthcare workers could bring “significant relief.”

“We’ve got a talent pool of educated, trained professionals that want to help in the hospital,” Brown said on Wednesday thanking the province for the decision.

Brown said there were  101 patients with COVID-19 at Brampton Civic Hospital, including 12 in the intensive care unit as of Wednesday morning.

Brampton Civic, which is operated by William Osler Health System, declared a “Code Orange” at the hospital just last week due to a surge in COVID-19 patients and staffing challenges.

And on Tuesday, Brampton’s Peel Memorial Centre urgent care centre was temporarily closed by Osler until February due to increasing patient volumes in emergency departments.

Brown said enlisting the aid of internationally trained healthcare workers and students “was the right call, and it’s going to help hospitals like Osler here in Brampton.”

In March 2020, Brown said the city petitioned province to allow internationally trained workers to work as COVID-19 continued to spread across the province.

Brown said he’s received many letters from internationally trained physicians and nurses asking how they can help, and said it was “bewildering” to him why the province wasn’t accepting those offers.

Ontario reported 9,783 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, but case counts are likely an underestimate due to limited testing capacity.

More than 3,400 people in the province were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, with more than 500 adults with the virus are in Ontario intensive care units.

Minister Elliot said the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 patients in ICUs is 411.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, said that while the Omicron variant is “rather mild” compared to previous strains of the virus, but not for unvaccinated individuals.

“It is mild for those who are vaccinated – if you’ve got two doses on board and three if you’re older, it’s mild,” he said. “If you’re unvaccinated at this point of time, the risk of severe outcomes is the same.”

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