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Ottawa hospitals begin receiving Toronto-area COVID-19 patients

Ottawa hospitals are also adapting to a rapid rise in local COVID-19 case numbers.
Queensway Carleton Hospital. Photo/Google Maps

Three COVID-19 patients from overloaded Toronto-area hospitals are now in Ottawa, with at least two more to come.

The Queensway Carleton Hospital received one of the patients on Monday, April 12, while another two were taken to other area hospitals.

In a statement, The Ottawa Hospital says it, the Queensway Carleton and L’Hopital Montfort have been asked to receive a total of five patients from the Toronto area. The eventual total number of patients received from GTA hospitals, and to which hospitals they'll go, are still being determined.

QCH has effectively turned its intensive care unit into a COVID-19 unit, with non-COVID ICU patients being cared for in an area that would normally be used for patients recovering from surgery.

"The postponement of surgical procedures are to provide staff to look after the [COVID-19] patients," explains Dr. Andrew Falconer, CEO, Queensway Carleton Hospital. "We have created six additional intensive care beds, outside of our own 12-bed ICU, and we have used space in our post-recovery operative area, to also provide ICU care."

While hospital workers have adapted to the changes, one year of being on the front lines of the pandemic has taken a toll.

"It's hard on the staff, and there are deaths occurring in the hospital," says Dr. Falconer. "It's sad for everyone, when they're involved in that kind of situation."

Dr. Falconer says mass vaccination is the light at the end of the tunnel, but is pleading with Ottawa residents to follow public health advice: wash your hands, keep your distance, wear a mask, and avoid social gatherings.

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