Ottawa Hospital increases surge plans as COVID-19 cases rise in Ottawa

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Hospital is urging everyone to follow public health guidance and the stay-at-home order, as it prepares to implement its “Level 2” surge plans in the coming days to accommodate upwards of 220 COVID-19 patients. 

“Despite the current stay-at-home order, the situation continues to escalate, and we have not yet reached the peak of the third wave, which is tremendously concerning,” said the Ottawa Hospital in a statement Thursday afternoon.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, Ottawa’s largest hospital says surge plans will increase bed capacity, redeploy staff that will be freed up from the ramp down of non-urgent/emergency services and implement adjusted staffing models of care.

“All of us will be asked to adjust and do things differently so we can support our colleagues caring for the critically ill and those on COVID-19 units,” said a statement from the Ottawa Hospital.

“Whether it is through providing support on in-patient units, or supporting the vaccination clinic efforts, we will adjust our practices to care for those who need our help.”

The Ottawa Hospital announced the move to Level 2 surge plans the same day Ottawa Public Health reported a record tying 370 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. 

On Wednesday, Ottawa’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney warned the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa was the “worst that it’s been to date.”  Dr. Moloughney said they were seeing hospitalizations double every 12 days, and there could be 200 people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 related illnesses next week.

“The Ottawa Hospital has enough surge capacity to be able to care for upwards of 220 COVID-19 patients,” said the Ottawa Hospital. “We hope to never get there, but we are well prepared if we have to.”

On Thursday, Ottawa Public Health reported 84 people in Ottawa-area hospitals with COVID-19 related illnesses, including 25 in the intensive care unit.   The Ottawa Hospital said there are currently 64 patients with COVID-19 at the Civic Campus and General Campus.

Last week, the Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital and the Montfort Hospital announced non-urgent elective surgeries requiring hospitalizations would be postponed as COVID-19 cases rise in the community.

“The current COVID-19 situation has created rapidly increasing pressure on the health-care system, surge capacity, ICU space, and patient-care capability throughout the province,” said the Ottawa Hospital Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this week, Ottawa Hospital chief of staff Dr. Virginia Roth called the COVID-19 situation in the hospital “unprecedented.”

“Hospitals are more stretched than they have been so far in the pandemic,” said Dr. Roth on CTV Morning Live.

“What that means it that we’ve had to ramp down, we’re not calling it cancelled because you get your surgery, but we’re postponing certain procedures and services so that we can redeploy staff to ICUs and COVID units.”

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