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University Hospital Network reports staffing ‘challenge’ as Ontario battles 6th wave of COVID
The president and CEO of the University Hospital Network (UHN) says the network is experiencing staffing challenges amid the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Kevin Smith said the UHN is “truly seeing a lot more cases of COVID” the past few days.
“So much so that staffing is challenging once again,” he wrote. “Our input admissions have also gone up from 6 last week to 30 today.”
The UHN encompasses Princess Margaret, Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals and the five sites of Toronto Rehab.
In a statement emailed to Global News, UHN said on March 30 that the network had 16 patients admitted in hospital with “active COVID.”
“Today we have 30 admitted patients with COVID,” the statement reads.
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According to UHN, the staffing challenge “is not related to admitted patients but rather to the fact that we are seeing more staff reporting either that they are positive for the virus or have a household member who is positive.”
The UHN said that it is seeing a seven-day rolling average that almost 40 per cent of the staff who are reporting symptoms to Health Services are positive for COVID.
“With staff ill or in quarantine because of illness in the household, staffing is a challenge in some areas,” the statement reads.
The UHN said there is “no question that the incidence of cases of the virus is rising in the community.”
The comments from UHN come as the province reported 1,074 people are in hospital with the virus, and 168 are in intensive care.
What’s more, data released on March 17 by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said the province’s wastewater signal had stopped declining and was increasing slightly. The data also showed the province’s test positivity rate had stopped declining.
Experts have urged caution, saying the province is now in the sixth wave of the pandemic.
Some, including Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa, have recommended masks be worn in public spaces again.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province has all of the supports in place to deal with the latest spike in cases.
“We have the supports, we have the beds,” he said. “As I mentioned, we have acute care beds of 3,100,” he said.
Both Ford and the province’s health minister, Christine Elliott, have maintained that the rise in cases was expected as COVID-19-related restrictions were lifted, but that the province will continue with its plan to reopen later this month.
More to come…
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