Windsor hospitals under strain, asking public for help, patience


WINDSOR, YOU. Health officials in southwestern Ontario are warning the public about stressful acute care issues and hospital capacity.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit – along with three local hospitals and local paramedics – says there has been a recent increase in both patients with COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

They say patients should expect wait times and that treatment for anything other than emergencies will be much longer than usual.

They are asking patients who do not have emergencies to seek care elsewhere, such as family physicians and clinics, to help alleviate hospitalizations.

They say they are also seeing a significant increase in young children with severe respiratory problems and needing a higher level of immediate care.

The group says that in the past two months, Windsor Regional Hospital has had to transport 11 children with respiratory syncytial virus to hospitals in London, Ontario or Detroit.

That’s up from three in the same time frame last year, and generally for kids two years old or younger.

“The reason for this sudden increase is unknown other than the realization that respiratory viruses not directly related to COVID-19 are still with us and we need to be cognizant of them in our daily lives,” the group said in a statement.

The local health unit said the area has been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus with the growing community spread.

Over the past week, the area has seen a seven-day rate of 123 cases per 100,000 residents, among the highest in the county.

“A large proportion of these cases that require hospitalization are not immune,” the organization said.

The group said the region’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is 8.3 percent, compared to 3 percent for the region as a whole.

“Eri Shores Health Care notes that the COVID-19 positivity percent of individuals tested at the COVID-19 assessment center is approximately 15 percent within the past week,” the group said.

She says the best way to help is to stay out of the hospital, and the COVID-19 vaccination does just that.

“We must work to maintain capacity in our healthcare system for patients,” the group said.

“Our local partners will continue to collaborate to ensure that our regional system is able to handle the influx of patients that will challenge our ability to ensure timely access to care.”

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on December 3, 2021.

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