WINDSOR, ONT. -- Being forced by the province to “ramp down” elective surgeries and non-emergency acute activity starting Monday isn’t convenient for Windsor-Essex residents, but based on current trends and Science Table modeling it is necessary.

Most of these temporary closures and postponements, which include non-urgent, elective surgeries and diagnostic scans, will be effective 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 12.

“We’ll get through this. It’s gonna hurt,” said Karen Riddell, vice-president of Critical Care at Windsor Regional Hospital.

Hospital capacity levels may be below critical levels, but Windsor Regional is part of a provincial healthcare system with provincial beds.

“We have to not only be able to help out the province but also we have to remember we’re not totally immune to COVID,”said hospital CEO David Musyj. “Hopefully it’s temporary meaning weeks not months. We’re in the midst of a pandemic and we have to be able to respond to the needs of the day.”

Out of 34 provincial hospitals, Windsor Regional is one of only 13 with capacity to handle what is projected for our region and possibly outside of our area. Musyj showed a chart that shows WRH is one of only six with capacity to handle critical patients needing the highest level beds.

“We don’t have a lot of capacity in the system for critical care patients if we’re also doing surgeries simultaneously.”

Musyj says Windsor-Essex has not received out-of-town patients because of the current influx of positive cases around the province, and he hopes they don’t have to, but they are more than willing to.

He pointed out during last summer’s wave patients were transferred from our area to other hospitals in Ontario in order to care for the most critically affected by COVID-19.

“So for us to go oh, we’re fine. You know what rest of the province you tell us how you turn out. No. We have to ensure we save lives.”

Windsor Regional Chief Of Staff Wassim Saad says cancer procedures will continue for now, “that could change at any moment if we get a direction we need the beds, we need the human health resources, we need something to help out the province or even our own residents then those may have to be cancelled.”