London Well being Sciences Middle studies strained assets and urges warning forward of lengthy weekend – London

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As people prepare to gather for Easter, the London Health Sciences Center is warning people to exercise caution at gatherings as hospital resources remain tainted.

On the way into the long weekend, Dr. Adam Dukelow, interim executive vice president and chief medical officer, said 321 employees are free because of COVID-19 and that the same number are free because they are in close contact with someone with the virus. He adds that this does not include everyone who is absent for other non-COVID-19 related reasons such as vacation.

The 321 is an increase from the 278 reported the previous day.

“When you get there you are understaffed and the wait times for our patients are longer and it’s a frustrating environment for both providers and patients. This is absolutely on the back of a lot of fatigue. We’ve been on this for over two years and never thought I’d see wave three let alone wave six, and I think a lot of healthcare workers feel the same way,” Dukelow says.

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The increase in absenteeism, coupled with the region’s high COVID-19 case numbers and the fact that most people in the ICU are unvaccinated, is creating fatigue and straining their resources, says Dr. Wael Haddara, Head of Critical Care at LHSC.

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Staffing shortages due to COVID-19 at the London Health Sciences Center could result in benefit cuts

Heading into a time when many people are likely to gather for meals with family and friends, LHSC is urging people to take precautions such as eating. E.g. wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and staying outside if possible.

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Residents are also being reminded to stay home if they experience any symptoms to avoid spreading the virus.

“One thing we’ve learned over the past two years is that it doesn’t really pay to be optimistic or pessimistic about COVID. You just have to be ready, and right now our preparedness is really being weighed down by our healthcare workforce situation. As an institution, as teams, we do what we can. People are pulling out all the stops to be ready to provide care when we need it,” Haddara says.

Due to staff shortages, LHSC has had to close some nursing homes as it does not have enough nurses, staff or personal assistants to care for the patients in these spaces. According to Dukelow, this has led to a reduction in scheduled services.

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Ontario COVID numbers – 1,392 people in hospital, 177 in intensive care

As of Thursday, Dukelow notes they haven’t had to transfer patients to other hospitals, but he warned about this earlier in the week.

Ontario reports 1,392 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 177 in intensive care.

That’s an increase of 60 for hospitalizations but a decrease of five for intensive care units from the previous day.

As of last Thursday, there were 1,126 hospitalizations, including 159 in intensive care, at Ontario hospitals. That’s an increase of 24 percent and 11 percent, respectively, from this week’s numbers.

Both Dukelow and Haddara are urging people to be cautious, get vaccinated and continue to wear masks to avoid visiting the hospital.

“We’ve all heard the phrase ‘living with COVID,’ and living with COVID is also just acknowledging that it’s still here and doing whatever we can, whatever each individual can do,” Haddara says.

— with files from Gabby Rodrigues

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