CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) announced on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2021 that nearly 40 of their staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result they would be scaling back on some of their services.
All staff members at the CCH are fully vaccinated, and are protected from contracting severe illness as a result of COVID-19, but may not be able to work as it would put patients at risk.
“If possible, members of the community should save the Emergency Department for emergencies, and consider visiting family doctors and walk-in clinics for non-urgent reasons. Emergency wait times may be longer than usual; please be kind and respectful with staff and physicians,” reads a statement from the CCH. “Please do not come to the Emergency Department for a COVID-19 test unless you also require medical attention as you may be turned away. New guidance from the provincial government says hospitals cannot provide PCR testing to asymptomatic individuals who do not require medical attention.”
In accordance with directives from the province, the Cornwall COVID-19 assessment centre on the CCH campus will only be providing PCR COVID-19 testing to high risk individuals who are symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
The hospital will also be scaling back on some surgeries, prioritizing those procedures that are deemed urgent in accordance with directives from the province.
“We appreciate how difficult this is for our patients whose wait times or care may be delayed. The team is working very hard to provide the highest quality care, and to return to normal operations as soon as we can,” said Jeanette Despatie, CCH President and Chief Executive Officer. “Like other local businesses and sectors, our workforce is being hit hard by the Omicron variant.”
Since Christmas Day, the number of patients at the CCH who are being treated for COVID-19 has risen from one to six.
“It’s a reminder that we need to get vaccinated and not completely let our guard down. People are still getting very sick, and we need to protect our staff and maintain our healthcare system so we can deliver critical non-COVID related healthcare services,” Despatie said.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region as of Dec. 31 is 1,588. There are six individuals hospitalized with the virus and one in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).