CORNWALL, Ontario – For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic entered the region in March of 2020, the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) said they are beginning to feel the strain.
In a statement to media, CCH President and CEO Jeanette Despatie said that daily rising cases of COVID-19 in the region was putting a strain on hospital resources, and that a stronger community effort was required to combat the spread of the virus.
“We need everyone in this community to take all measures to stop the spread of COVID-19”, she said. “The Ontario health system, including our local hospital, is nearing full capacity”.
She went on to explain that should current trends continue, some appointment cancellations may occur and elective surgeries may be postponed.
“Our community can help us manage this crisis by following Public Health guidelines on physical distancing, limiting interactions, handwashing and masking,” Despatie said. “There is hope with the vaccine’s development, but our essential health care workers in Cornwall have not been vaccinated and we must protect them by limiting the spread.”
Dr. Lorne Scharf, Chief of Staff and emergency physician at CCH states that more effort is required to prevent Cornwall from seeing the kinds of soaring numbers that have been posted in areas like Windsor-Essex and the Peel region.
“The next few weeks are terribly worrisome; we need everyone to understand that what is happening in Toronto and Windsor can happen here if a broader effort to slow transmission is not met,” he said. “The entire system is being stretched. Provincially, there is not enough specialized staff to meet demand as numbers continue to soar.”
The CCH states that their Critical Care Unit (CCU) is seeing high numbers of cases as well, despite that the hospital says that it is still safe for patients to come to them for care, but warned that the pandemic was placing undue pressure on staff and other resources.
“Despite perceptions that this problem is a greater concern for larger cities across our province, the COVID-19 patients we are seeing at CCH are very sick,” said Despatie. “Several require extended stays in critical care. We ask local citizens to take precautions and stay safe.”
The CCH told Seaway News that as of Wednesday, Jan. 7 they had two patients in their CCU and seven other individuals hospitalized with COVID-19.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU)’s numbers are telling a different story however. According to the EOHU website, there are currently six individuals who are hospitalized in the region with COVID-19, and none in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The EOHU website does list the CCH CCU as currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, as is the hospital’s Inpatient Mental Health Unit.
Seaway News reached out to the EOHU for comment on this disparity, but have yet to hear a response.