Mississauga hospitals caring for signficant number of COVID patients, cancelling and postponing some surgeries
Trillium Health Partners (THP), which operates Credit Valley Hospital and the Mississauga Hospital, is cancelling and postponing some surgeries amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a THP spokesperson, the health care provider is currently caring for the greatest volume of patients with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.
"We anticipate these numbers will continue to rise over the next few weeks," Keeley Rogers, communications and public affairs at THP, said in an email to insauga.com.
Rogers says that as of today (Jan. 7), THP is caring for 130 patients with COVID-19 in hospital.
During the first wave (March 15 to June 15,) THP cared for 358 unique patients with COVID-19. During this second wave (Oct. 1, 2020, to Jan. 6, 2021), THP has seen almost double that number, with 659 unique COVID-19 patients.
On Jan. 6, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told reporters that while Mississauga is seeing a high number of new infections on a daily basis, she's most concerned about the impact the virus is having on the city's two hospitals.
"I’ve said many times here before it’s not our continued daily high case numbers that concern me the most, it’s the situation in our hospitals right now," Crombie said, adding that 31 COVID patients are receiving critical care.
The mayor said that more than 230 rooms at THP sites are being used solely for COVID patients and that over 100 patients have been sent to other hospitals across the GTA for treatment as a result.
Crombie also said that the virus is creating staffing challenges.
Rogers says that as of Jan. 7, 75 staff members have had to stay home from work to recover from COVID-19 over the last two weeks.
"As Peel Region is a hotspot for COVID-19 and community prevalence continues to rise, it is expected that we will see more community transmission amongst our staff. The majority of these cases are from community spread, with some hospital transmission due to a variety of sources including the units on outbreak," Rogers says.
As of now, five units at Credit Valley Hospital and one unit at Mississauga Hospital are in outbreak.
Rogers said that the outbreaks should not scare people away from seeking care in hospital.
"THP has rigorous screening, contact tracing and infection prevention and control measures in place to ensure our hospital remains a safe place to receive care. THP staff are screened daily before entering the hospital," she says.
"If a staff member is showing one or more COVID-19 symptoms or has had close contact with a positive case, they do not report to work. For this reason, all of our health care workers who are currently off for COVID-19 have not been exposed to the hospital or patients while symptomatic or asymptomatic and awaiting testing."
As for surgeries, Rogers says that some planned procedures have been delayed as the hospitals cope with the surge in new coronavirus cases.
According to Rogers, THP began making adjustments to planned surgical care services on Dec. 21 in an effort to deal with increasing capacity pressures.
"We are monitoring daily and are currently implementing plans to temporarily reduce further, as needed. As a regional specialty centre, THP will continue to perform urgent surgeries, including (but not limited to) cancer, neurosurgery and cardiac."
At the Jan. 6 press conference, Crombie called on the province to create a mass immunization centre in Peel and said that the city will help THP and Peel Public Health with the broader vaccine rollout.
"Over the next weeks and months, the priority at the City of Mississauga will be ensuring that we have systems in place to help the broader rollout so residents can get the vaccine quickly and as efficiently as possible," Crombie told reporters.
"Staff at the city have been directed to identify potential sites that can be used to administer the vaccine and I’m working closely with my policy team to determine what other available resources we have at our disposal to help support the province, Peel Public Health and our hospitals."
Rogers says that THP began vaccinating long-term care workers, high-risk congregate setting health care workers, THP hospital staff in high-risk areas and paramedics on Dec. 21, 2020.
To date, THP has administered approximately 3,300 vaccines.
"Plans are now ramping up to offer vaccines to expanded groups in the health care setting," Rogers says.
Crombie said that as of Jan. 6, Peel Public Health has vaccinated almost 1,000 long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers.
Crombie also praised the province's plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable long-term care residents in Peel by the end of the month.
"I’m urging all frontline health care workers who have not been vaccinated to please go and get their vaccine at either Trillium Health Partners or William Osler [in Brampton]. Both hospitals have the capacity right now to administer the vaccine. So, please do not hesitate to go and get it," Crombie said.
Peel, which has been hard hit over the course of the pandemic, was one of the first regions in Ontario to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
According to the Ontario government, the province began its vaccine rollout in December. To date, 44 vaccine sites have been established and over 50,000 people across Ontario have received the Pfizer vaccine. Nearly 3,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered to 24 long-term care homes between Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021.
An estimated 2 million vaccine doses are expected to arrive throughout the winter during Phase One of the province's vaccine implementation plan.
Crombie said that while the vaccine represents hope, abiding by public health measures in the interim is crucial.
"Our hospitals have once again stepped up on so many different fronts. The more we come together as a community to reduce the spread of the virus, the more pressure is taken off hospitals. That means hospitals will be able to put more energy and resources into vaccinations and providing necessary treatments and surgeries for their patients."
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