‘We did not want to be here again’: Manitoba reducing surgical activity, transferring hospital patients due to COVID surge

WINNIPEG –

Manitoba is reducing surgical activity and transferring hospital patients to other facilities to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases and the demand on the health-care system.

At a news conference on Friday, Monika Warren, the provincial COVID-19 operations chief for Shared Health, said nurses with previous critical care experience or specialized training will be temporarily moved to different units to help COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

She noted this will have an impact on Manitobans with procedures scheduled beginning on Nov. 19.

“This change will affect two slates at the Pan Am, two slates at Misericordia, two slates at Victoria, and endoscopy procedures completed at the Seven Oaks Hospital,” Warren said.

Patients whose procedures are affected by this reduction will receive a call from their doctor’s or surgeon’s office. Anyone who doesn’t receive a call should attend their appointment as scheduled.

Operating slates will continue until Nov. 18.

Warren noted the reduction in surgical activity will allow for an increase in beds, adding that Shared Health anticipates increasing ICU bed numbers to 110.

“We did not want to be here again, and we are both grateful to the staff whose work and personal lives are once again being disrupted. I want to thank you very much for your understanding and thank you for your commitment to our patients and all Manitobans,” she said.

“To our patients, we also thank you for your understanding and we want to express our disappointment that your ability to access care is once again being affected.”

TRANSFERRING PATIENTS

Warren explained that Shared Health has been taking a close look at the demand for hospital beds and the available capacity, which has resulted in the decision to transfer patients whose care needs can be met at other facilities. As of Wednesday, 24 moves have taken place.

“This is a decision that is very firmly based in clinical assessment to ensure these transfers are safe, and that our patients are able to have their ongoing care needs met at the receiving facility,” she said.

She recognized that this is a stressful situation, adding that Shared Health will provide support to patients and their families as they navigate these moves.

“It is our hope that these are time-limited moves, so we ask for patience and understanding from families as we make decisions that are necessary to support care for all Manitobans,” she said.

HOSPITAL AND ICU ADMISSIONS

According to Warren, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations in Manitoba continues to rise, noting they are seeing increased admission of COVID-19 patients in ICUs.

“In the past week 15 COVID patients have been admitted to ICU, including two yesterday,” she said.

“As of midnight, there were 86 patients in our ICU, and this number includes 30 patients with COVID, which constitutes a jump of 25 per cent just this past week.”

Warren noted that most of these patients are unvaccinated.

Overall, Warren said, there are 145 people hospitalized with COVID-19, which is an increase of 27 patients and a nearly 23 per cent jump from the prior week.

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