Hospitals across Ontario are filling up with COVID-19 patients, and the London Health Science Center is no exception.
The LHSC set a new record on Thursday with 29 COVID-19 patients in its intensive care unit and 65 patients hospitalized on Victoria and University campuses.
According to Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s chief medical officer, this means the hospital’s capacity right now – and the number of cases is rising.
LHSC is still accepting patients from other regions
The London Health Sciences Center is part of the province’s efforts to relieve intensive care units in other regions of Ontario that are congested.
“Five of the patients in or out of the ICU and 22 of the patients in the ICU are from outside the London-Middlesex area,” Dukelow told Jackie Sharkey, guest presenter on London Morning, on Friday.
However, the existing capacity at LHSC was insufficient, Dukelow said, and like many hospitals, more beds are being added.
“As of this morning we will have 18 more intensive care beds than ever before at the London Health Sciences Center. And there is a potential that we need to open up more. And that enables us to care for both local patients and patients.” Patients from all over the province. “
The staff has been recruited to care for these patients
More beds require more staff to care for the people in those beds, and so the London Health Sciences Center is slowing down planned surgeries and procedures.
“We are also looking into whether employees from other hospitals may be used to open more beds in the intensive care unit if necessary,” said Dukelow.
Last Friday, the Ontario government health department issued an emergency order allowing health professionals and other workers who work for the provincial community health authorities to move to hospitals.
The Western Fairgrounds field hospital is not yet needed
The 18 new beds in the intensive care unit are located in the post-anesthesia ward and annex to Victoria Hospital, which is normally used for mentally ill patients. That is on top of the 50 beds that opened at Victoria Hospital at the start of the pandemic, Dukelow said.
He said recourse to the Western Fairgrounds Field Hospital is still “quite a long way off.”
The next step in opening up capacity is to reopen the inpatient beds in the E Tower of Victoria Hospital. Only when this capacity is exceeded, the hospital management would start sending people to the field hospital, said Dukelow.
Some patients are likely to move to nursing homes
Across Ontario there are 5,000 “alternative care” patients waiting in hospital beds to be placed in provincial nursing homes. That includes LHSC, confirmed Dukelow.
The Ministry of Long-Term Care has urged nursing homes “to do everything possible over the next two weeks to safely admit or readmit hospital patients waiting for a place in a nursing home”.
The ICU trajectory is tragic and frightening. Already 60% above the peak of wave 2. Hospitals are overrun, but many in our communities don’t seem to notice. Stay at home!!! pic.twitter.com/tLDh6SBXEO
– @ JohnsonNeilG
Dukelow says they are in “active discussions” about how best to use long-term care to relieve pressure on LHSC.
“There will likely be some shift of patients from the hospital to long-term care. But this is currently being discussed at various tables and we are waiting for the results,” he said on Friday.
London morning9:21A look at London’s intensive care units