'Significant bed capacity concerns' at Windsor hospitals due to COVID and respiratory ailments
Windsor-Essex health care partners are warning the public about intensifying capacity pressures across the acute care system in the region due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and other respiratory ailments.
The region’s three hospitals, in conjunction with Essex-Windsor EMS and the
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, issued a joint news release on Friday.
“Hospitals are reporting significant bed capacity concerns amid not only rising COVID-19 cases but also a recent surge in respiratory ailments,” said the news release. “Although emergency cases are always attended to rapidly and receive immediate medical treatment, patients should expect that wait times and treatment for any ailments other than emergencies will be much longer than usual.”
Ambulance response times for non-emergency situations may also be longer than usual.
Hospital officials say they are doing what they can to preserve capacity for surgeries, many of which were postponed during peak periods of the pandemic since spring 2021.
“We are asking patients to seek care where possible, for non-emergency needs, at community settings, such as their family doctor or local medical clinic, to help alleviate strain on the system,” said the health partners.
Windsor Regional Hospital says they are also experiencing a dramatic increase in young children with severe respiratory issues needing an immediate higher level of care.
During the months of October, November, and the first two days of December, Windsor Regional Hospital has had to transfer 11 paediatric patients suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to either London or Detroit.
By comparison, last year for the months of October and November, WRH transferred only three paediatric patients. The ages of the children being transferred are generally two (2) years of age or younger.
Health officials say the reason for this sudden increase is unknown other than to recognize that respiratory viruses not directly related to COVID-19 are still with us and individuals need to be cognizant of them in their daily lives.
The best way to limit their spread is to continue to follow public health measures and be especially careful with children at high risk for severe RSV disease including premature infants, children with chronic lung and heart conditions and children with weakened immune systems.
WECHU is also seeing a spike in community spread of COVID-19, with the most recent seven-day rate of 123 cases per 100,000 population. A percentage of these cases will require hospitalization and critical care beds.
The hospitals report a large percentage of these cases requiring hospitalization are unvaccinated.
Erie Shores HealthCare notes that the COVID-19 percent positivity from individuals being tested at its COVID-19 Assessment Centre is about 15 per cent over the past week. As of Nov. 29, the COVID-19 percent positivity for Windsor/Essex as a whole is 8.3 per cent. By comparison, the Province of Ontario COVID-19 percent positivity is three per cent.
Local health care partners continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated to help curb the spread.