Two doses are not enough: MOH
As the Omicron variant takes over, Simcoe Muskoka’s medical racier of health Dr. Charles Gardner is urging people not to be complacent, saying two doses of vaccine are not enough to prevent people from becoming cases, although it is helpful in reducing severity of illness and hospital admissions.
The health system is bracing for another onslaught as the fifth wave hits, with Simcoe Muskoka seeing record number of cases even with a reduced ability to test and confirm rapid antigen test results.
“Our hospitals, although they don’t have a high number of Covid cases as yet are challenged,” said Gardner. “They are seeing a big draw on their emergency departments, a reduced ability to transfer patients back to long term care facilities because ofoutbreaks, and that many of their staff have been off ill so they are challenged with human resources.”
Capacity is a challenge in general, aside from COVID, with three hospitals at full capacity, including the intensive care units.
He said it is known that case records aren’t capturing all the cases in the community, measured by a significant elevation in the testing percent positivity 26 per cent, when anything above three per cent is considered being a concern.
In response to similar spread throughout the province, the government has imposed restrictions as of Wednesday which include the closure of indoor dining, recreation facilities, and schools, with students going back to online learning until Jan. 17, and possible longer. During this time the government is promising free emergency child care for the school- aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.
Indoor gatherings are limited to five people, employees are encouraged to work from home when possible. Many other businesses and services are limited to 50 per cent capacity.
Also on Wednesday, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital began ramping down non-urgent surgeries and some outpatient procedures to preserve health human resource capacity.
“We are experiencing a new phase in the pandemic with the omicron variant spreading quickly through the South Georgian Bay community, but now we must begin redeploying hospital employees to other areas to maintain key services and programs,” said the hospital’s president and CEO Norah Holder, in a news release. “We understand this is very frustrating for the community, as all surgeries are important, and some patients have now had a surgery rescheduled two or three times.”
Emergent and urgent surgeries, such as cancer care will continue, and the hospital’s emergency department (ED) remains open to see patients requiring urgent care. The ED is not providing COVID PCR testing and anyone who meets the provinces updated testing criteria for a PCR test is to contact the South Georgian Bay COVID-19 Assessment Centre by calling 905-218-3572 or booking online at chlscheduling.as.me/schedule.php. Some hospital outpatient clinics and diagnostic imaging appointments are continuing at a reduced capacity. Patients that have upcoming surgeries and appointments will be contacted by their surgeons’ offices or the hospital, if their surgery, diagnostic imaging or outpatient clinic is cancelled at this time.
Patients who have not received a phone call, should proceed to the hospital as scheduled.