A new year renews concerns for hospitals grappling with COVID-19, experts warn

A new year renews concerns for hospitals grappling with COVID-19, experts warn

Published:  Fri, Jan 1st, 2021 4:10:18 PM

OTTAWA — The fraught year of 2020 may be over, but experts warn the dawn of a new year doesn’t mean an end to the troubles caused by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts in multiple Canadian virus hot spots say patients are flooding hospitals at an alarming rate and are expected to arrive in even greater numbers in the weeks to come. 

Quebec’s health ministry says hospitals in the greater Montreal area are on track to exceed their capacity within the next three weeks, noting almost two-thirds of designated beds are already occupied.

Anthony Dale, head of the Ontario Hospital Association, says one-fifth of the province’s intensive care capacity is now devoted to COVID-19 patients, with Toronto and the regions of Peel, York, and Windsor-Essex hit hardest.

Tim Sly, an epidemiologist and professor emeritus at Ryerson University’s School of Public Health, says the spike could jeopardize elective surgeries and other care, though some hospitals have already started to cancel procedures.

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency of Canada said more than 720 patients hospitalized with the virus are now receiving treatment in ICUs, including 337 in Ontario and 165 in Quebec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press