Message from Lynn Guerriero, President and Interim CEO, and Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff:
"Our teams are working extremely hard to do everything possible to minimize the impact on patient care at Niagara Health. But the unrelenting pressures on the healthcare system require that we continue to adjust, on a case-by-case basis, in order to build capacity for life-saving critical care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
We are currently treating 71 patients who are positive with COVID-19. Of these 71 patients, 17 are in our Intensive Care Unit. These patient volumes speak to the increase in infections and seriousness of the illness. In comparison, on April 1, we were treating 11 patients with COVID-19, which included three patients in our ICUs.
Postponement of some scheduled surgeries and ambulatory procedures is taking place again this week consistent with provincial direction. Urgent surgeries and cancer surgeries are not currently impacted. Our care team will reach out directly to impacted patients and families.
We continue to work closely with hospitals in our region and with provincial partners to adjust operations as needed and in a safe and controlled manner. This includes the ongoing transfers of critical care patients to Niagara from other Intensive Care Units in harder-hit areas of the province. We increased our critical care capacity last week by three beds, up to 63, and have plans to add additional beds this week. Redeployment of staff is critical to this planning and is ongoing. We are grateful for the response we have received so far from our healthcare professionals.
Units 4A and 5B are our dedicated COVID-19 units at the St. Catharines Site, and there are options to expand further if needed. We are transferring patients to our other sites that can meet these patients’ care needs. Patients will only be moved if their care team decides that it is necessary and safe to do so.
We expect volumes of COVID+ patients to continue to increase, including those who require critical care. This will further impact our delivery of health services at all of our sites. Everyone is urged to remain vigilant with all public health measures and encourage others to do the same to reduce the transmission of the virus. This includes masking, physical distancing, handwashing, and minimizing contact with others.
More than one-quarter of Niagara residents have now received a first dose of vaccine, and we encourage residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. Beginning today, people 40 years of age and older are now eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine."