Ontario asks hospitals to also treat children | Coronavirus: Ontario

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Ontario asks hospitals to also treat children | Coronavirus: Ontario

A nurse at Toronto's Humber River Hospital (archives)

Faced with overflows in pediatric hospitals, the province gives the directing adult hospitals to admit youth 14 years and older requiring intensive care.

The message sent to hospital managers by the Provincial Critical Care and COVID-19 Command Center also warns that surgeries and other procedures may need to be canceled, if necessary.

Command Center Chief Dr. Andrew Baker explains in the message obtained by CBC that there is a current and growing increase in the need for pediatric emergency care .

“We anticipate that over the next 2-3 months there will be a marked and continued increase in demand for pediatric intensive care with unplanned peaks that could occur without much notice.

— Dr. Andrew Baker, Chief of the Ontario Critical Care Command Center

He adds that any exceptions to the directive to care for youth 14 and older in the intensive care unit of adult hospitals will be assessed on a “case-by-case” basis.

This policy must be re-examined every two weeks.

The children's hospitals SickKids in Toronto and CHEO in Ottawa, in particular, say they are currently overwhelmed with numerous cases of respiratory infections, influenza and COVID.

SickKids CEO Dr. Ronald Cohn says there is unprecedented crowding in the hospital emergency room from respiratory infections, a small fraction due to coronavirus . However, some of these young patients must be hospitalized, including in intensive care, he notes.

“The pressure on the health system, particularly on the pediatric health system, will continue to increase over the next few weeks.

— Dr. Ronald Cohn, CEO of SickKids Hospital

He urges Ontarians to get their flu shot and their COVID-19 booster as soon as possible.

There are currently 107 children in intensive care in Ontario ; 4 are infected with the coronavirus.

Dr. Baker also urges hospitals in his message to “proactively” find more capacity for adults in intensive care. He tells them that they must be prepared to “react within 24 hours” to any new directives.

The Ministry of Health has not commented at this time.

On Wednesday, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, did not rule out the possibility of recommending to the government to reinstate the obligation to wear the mask in certain closed places, to alleviate the pressure on the health system.

For its part, the NDP accuses the Ford government of being responsible for the situation in children's hospitals.

“The crisis that Doug Ford created in our hospitals is getting worse day by day.

— France Gélinas, MP and NDP Health Critic

According to her, the government has “scared away health care workers” by limiting increases 1% salary in the public sector. She calls for a recruitment strategy and health investments.

With information from CBC

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