WINDSOR, ONT. -- Erie Shores HealthCare is postponing all non-urgent, pre-scheduled elective surgeries for an indefinite period.

It is effective Monday, Jan. 4.

Hospital officials say it is due to in-hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 continuing to rise at an alarming rate and a potential shortage of available acute care beds.

“We have seen an increase in related pressures on our hospital over the past month and we anticipate these pressures will continue or increase over the coming 6-8 weeks,” said Dr. Ross Moncur, Chief of Staff . “In order to be available to provide care to the sickest patients in our community, we now need to again prioritize procedures and surgeries and postpone any elective procedures until this surge is over.”

Non-urgent diagnostic imaging studies will not be scheduled at this time. Patient’s will be notified if an already scheduled imaging study will be deferred.

ESHC will continue to perform surgeries for emergencies and urgent surgeries deemed priorities by the surgical team.

Cancer surgeries will continue to be prioritized. Surgeons will review their elective cases that they had booked from Jan. 4 and onwards to contact patients to inform them of their postponements.

ESHC officials say they are working with regional hospital partners to assess decanting options as needed over the coming days and week(s).

Starting immediately, Erie Shores HealthCare will move to a 24-hour onsite leadership coverage to support frontline staff.

“ESHC is greatly appreciative of the abundance of support from our regional Hospital and EMS partners during this most challenging time. It truly highlights the collaborative approach to the delivery of care across Erie St. Clair,” said CEO Kristin Kennedy.

Windsor Regional Hospital has also decided to delay all non-urgent, pre-scheduled, elective surgeries for an indefinite period starting Jan. 4.