Hundreds of surgeries in Cornwall, Ont., Have been put on hold again because of the growing number of Kovid-19 patients, forcing the city hospital to close the operating rooms.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) officials said only life-threatening cancer cases and other high-priority surgeries would continue in the coming weeks.
“We are doing this ourselves for the hospital’s self-preservation,” said Dr. Dawson, head of surgery at CCH.
Weinberg said postponing non-emergency surgeries would allow the hospital to reserve beds and resources for emergency situations as COVID-19 patients have to be hospitalized in most cases.
Cornwall has the highest positive rates in Ontario and the lowest vaccination rates. In some neighborhoods, only 69 percent of eligible people are fully vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, the surgeries and patients who need those surgeries are a blow to the community,” Weinberg said.
CCH will temporarily close operating rooms to prioritize urgent and high-elective elective surgeries as we are dealing with an increasing number of patients due to the Kovid-19 epidemic.
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Low vaccination rates in the province
According to Weinberg, the hospital, which had already exceeded capacity in September, is now “exceeding it”.
The hospital now has 19 Kovid-19 patients, 13 of whom need intensive care. More than half the cases of CCH are not vaccinated.
The problem is that Kovid-19 cases require longer hospital stays than the average patient, Weinberg said. Although common problems can be resolved in two to five days, COVID-19 patients take approximately two weeks from admission to discharge, and the lack of flow “cannot continue,” Weinberg said.
“We cannot continue conducting OR unless there is a place to place patients after surgery,” he said.
Weinberg said many nurses and health-care staff at the hospital have also been burned out, sick or re-assigned to other units.
The outbreak in Cornwall is preventing large numbers of patients from being safely transferred to community care facilities in hospital beds, many of them struggling with staff shortages, hospital officials said.
Officials say the situation could have been avoided
This is the third time hospital surgeries have been rescheduled in the last 18 months. Twice before provincial mandatory discontinuation, but this is the first time CCH has chosen to postpone its own surgeries.
“It’s very frustrating to tell patients,” Weinberg said.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, a health doctor at Weinberg and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said the current situation could have been largely avoided if most locals had been vaccinated.
“Not only that [unvaccinated] As you know, there is a high complication rate, including hospitalization and ICU admission, but [unvaccinated people] It also transcends our health-care services, ”Roumeliotis said at a press conference Wednesday.
The CCH staff will contact affected patients with scheduled surgeries in the following days. Weinberg said the goal is to return to the normal operating schedule in two weeks.