The Glengarry News

Surge capacity

Hospital appeals for help

publisher Jan 8, 2021 - 8:26am

Hospital appeals for help

As Cornwall Community Hospital struggles to cope with a rise in COVID-19 cases, the institution has issued an appeal to the public -- community action is required to stop the case count from rising further to avoid a disruption in services.

“We need everyone in this community to take all measures to stop the spread of COVID-19”, says CEO Jeanette Despatie. “The Ontario health system, including our local hospital, is nearing full capacity.”

Hospital capacity is being monitored daily, and some elective surgeries will be postponed, making beds available for emergency cases. Every effort is being made to maintain all day surgeries, clinics and diagnostic services, but if recent trends continue, cancellations may occur.

“Our community can help us manage this crisis by following Public Health guidelines on physical distancing, limiting interactions, handwashing and masking,” says Despatie. “There is hope with the vaccine’s development, but our essential health care workers in Cornwall have not been vaccinated and we must protect them by limiting the spread.”

Though our community was spared the level of transmission seen in urban markets during wave one, frontline physicians and staff are managing a spike in COVID-19 cases now that January is here.

“The next few weeks are terribly worrisome; we need everyone to understand that what is happening in Toronto and Windsor can happen here if a broader effort to slow transmission is not met,” says Dr. Lorne Scharf, Chief of Staff and emergency physician at CCH. “The entire system is being stretched. Provincially, there is not enough specialized staff to meet demand as numbers continue to soar.”

Cornwall Hospital is operating at surge capacity and numbers of COVID-19 cases are growing daily. The Critical Care Unit (CCU) has been challenged with high volumes over the last few weeks. CCH remains safe for patients to access care, but constraints created by the pandemic place undue pressure on physicians, staff, and the facility.

“Despite perceptions that this problem is a greater concern for larger cities across our province, the COVID-19 patients we are seeing at CCH are very sick,” says Ms. Despatie. “Several require extended stays in critical care. We ask local citizens to take precautions and stay safe.”