TORONTO — The Ontario government is asking the province's hospitals to prepare to use their surge capacity within 48 hours because of soaring COVID-19 cases.
The CEO of Ontario Health, which co-ordinates several agencies in the province's health-care system, makes the request in a memo to hospitals.
Matt Anderson asks hospitals in the province's lockdown and red zones to ensure they have at least 10 to 15 per cent surge capacity for adult COVID-19 patients.
For hospitals in green, yellow, and orange zones, he asks that they plan how to incrementally create at least that amount of surge capacity for patients with the virus.
Anderson says the health system's ability to care for patients is being challenged because of the virus, so he is asking hospitals to ensure they have the capacity.
He says the actions the hospitals take in the next days and weeks will dictate their ability to meet "escalating and anticipated" capacity demands.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Hospital Association's board of directors will meet today for an emergency discussion about rising COVID-19 infections in the province.
The OHA says it's deeply concerned by the worsening pandemic and related pressure on hospitals.
The unplanned meeting was called in response to the situation.
As of yesterday morning, there were 921 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, including 249 people in intensive care.
A statement from the association says a wave of hospitalizations after the holidays risks disrupting acute care and other services in the new year.
It says the situation is far more serious than the first wave of infections because elective surgeries need to be maintained.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2020.
The Canadian Press