Few changes at WDMH as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Few changes at WDMH as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase
The Winchester District Memorial Hospital

WINCHESTER, Ontario – Many of the functions of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital remain unchanged as the region sees increased hospitalizations due to the most recent wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Our patients are our top priority, and we are here for you,” said WDMH CEO Cholly Boland.”If any services are affected, we will ensure our patients and local communities are informed immediately.”

The hospital sent out a release to the public following inquiries by The Leader on how the hospital is adapting to the recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

WDMH has a level two critical care unit. The Cornwall Community Hospital is the only level three intensive care unit in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region.

As of the EOHU’s April 12th update, there are 33 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and seven people in ICUs. Most of those ICU cases are in the CCH, with remaining ICU cases in Ottawa.

Last week, CCH CEO Jeanette Despatie said that non-critical care patients at that hospital were being moved to other facilities to make room for more COVID cases. Boland said that the WDMH is working closely with local hospitals and is responding to the latest directions from the Ministry of Health.

For now, there are no changes to outpatient clinics and diagnostic testing. The emergency department is still open 24/7 according to the WDMH.

The hospital is preparing to open additional beds to take non-COVID-19 patients from other hospitals, if needed.

“We are working to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible for these patients,” Boland said.

The active case count of COVID-19 infections in the EOHU region topped 450 on April 12th. ICU capacity in the EOHU region is at 80 per cent, and the COVID-19 ICU at CCH is at 25 per cent. Hospitalizations have dramatically increased as COVID-19 variants of concern have spread throughout Ontario. Many hospital ICUs in the Greater Toronto Area are over-capacity, and are moving COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients to hospitals outside of that region to free up space.

This article was originally written for and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.

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