Windsor, Ontario. –
Windsor-Essex Health Partners are warning the public of mounting capacity pressures across the acute care system in the area due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and other respiratory diseases.
The three hospitals in the area, in partnership with Essex-Windsor EMS and the
The Windsor-Essex County Health Department issued a joint press release on Friday.
“Hospitals are reporting significant bed capacity concerns amid not only rising COVID-19 cases but a recent surge in respiratory illnesses,” the press release said. “Although emergencies are always dealt with quickly and medically treated immediately, patients must expect waiting times and treatment of ailments other than emergencies to be much longer than usual.”
Ambulance response times for non-emergency situations may also be longer than usual.
Hospital officials say they are doing everything they can to maintain capacity for operations, many of which have been postponed during pandemic peak since spring 2021.
“We ask patients to seek treatment for non-emergency needs in community facilities, such as their general practitioner or a local medical clinic, to reduce the burden on the system,” said the health partners.
Windsor Regional Hospital says there has also been a dramatic increase in young children with severe respiratory illnesses who need higher-level care immediately.
During the months of October, November and the first two days of December, Windsor Regional Hospital had to move 11 pediatric patients with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) to either London or Detroit.
In comparison, WRH only moved three pediatric patients in October and November last year. The age of the transferred children is typically two (2) years or younger.
Health officials say the reason for this sudden spike is unknown except to realize that respiratory viruses not directly related to COVID-19 are still with us and need to be aware of them as individuals in their daily lives.
The best way to limit its spread is to continue to follow public health measures and, in children at high risk for severe RSV disease, including premature babies, children with chronic lung and heart diseases, and children with compromised immune systems, to be extra careful.
WECHU is also seeing an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in the community, with the most recent 7-day rate of 123 cases per 100,000 population. A percentage of these cases require hospitalizations and intensive care beds.
Hospitals state that a large percentage of these hospitalized cases are unvaccinated.
Erie Shores HealthCare notes that the COVID-19 percent positivity of people tested in its COVID-19 assessment center was around 15 percent for the past week. As of November 29, the COVID-19 percent positivity for Windsor / Essex is 8.3 percent overall. By comparison, the percent positivity of COVID-19 in the province of Ontario is three percent.
Local health care partners continue to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated to contain the spread.