Local hospitals to take patients from other hospitals as COVID-19 patients fill ICUs

Armstrong: ‘The system is nearing its breaking point’

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The three hospitals in Wellington County are bracing for the third wave of COVID-19 and, as of April 19, will be taking patients from outside the region.

None of the local hospitals operated by the Wellington Health Care Alliance – Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Aboyne, Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest and Palmerston and District Hospital – have intensive care units (ICUs).

But Alison Armstrong, manager of communications for the alliance, said the hospitals have been working to free up capacity so they can take non-ICU patients from hospitals with overrun ICUs.

“We have increased our bed capacity by 26, giving us a total bed capacity of 101 across the three hospital sites,” Armstrong stated in an email to the Advertiser.

“The majority of these beds, for now, are located at Groves hospital.”

Armstrong said all non-urgent surgeries and procedures are cancelled until further notice.

“We are doing all emergent surgeries such as c-sections, emergency appendectomies, etc.,” she stated.

“At this time, ambulatory care and oncology services continue to run as normal, as well as our diagnostic imaging services such as mammograms.

“Our emergency and obstetric programs continue to run 24-7.”

Armstrong said COVID-19 variants from Brazil, the UK, South Africa and California are beginning to present locally.

The variants are stronger, more contagious, and are affecting a younger population than the original strain.

“What we do know right now is that many of the new variants are impacting younger people who are getting sicker, faster,” she said.

“That is why our ICUs are filling up and we are now reaching capacity in our hospitals across the province.”

Armstrong urged the public to follow public health safety measures to help lower the spread of the disease.

“Our health care staff and physicians have been battling this pandemic for over a year now,” she said.

“They, too, are tired of COVID-19 and it has taken a toll on them with the worst yet to come.”

Armstrong stressed, “The system is nearing its breaking point. Please stay home. Do your part.

“Get vaccinated when you are eligible to do so. Be kind to one another – and be kind to our health care workers.”