Provincial directives and increasing cases of COVID-19 locally and across the province are having an impact on some services at Grey Bruce Health Services.
All Elective Surgeries Postponed: Yesterday the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province of Ontario announced that hospitals must pause all pre-scheduled, non-urgent surgeries and procedures effective January 5th in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.
“We recognize that this provincial order causes stress for our patients who have been waiting for their elective procedures, and as soon as we are able, we will work to re-book these appointments,” said Gary Sims, GBHS President and CEO. “In the meantime, all urgent and emergency surgeries and procedures will be provided, 24/7 as per usual.”
At this time, these services are expected to resume by January 26. Scheduled endoscopy services are being postponed until at least the beginning of February. This provincial directive does not affect diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, MRIs and CT scans.
All patients with pre-scheduled surgeries and procedures are being called by their doctor’s office. GBHS is asking patients to wait for instructions rather than calling their doctor or the hospital.
Eligibility for COVID Testing Changes (Those with Mild Symptoms Not Being Tested): Last week the Ministry of Health issued new criteria for who can be tested at publically funded COVID-19 Assessment Centres. As cases across Canada increase, the province is working to ensure that individuals who work and live in high-risk settings, including healthcare workers, can get tested for COVID-19. The provincial government is now asking those with mild COVID-19 symptoms who are healthy and vaccinated to stay home, and not get tested. There are exceptions for those at higher risk of illness and vulnerable populations.
Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, January 5, 2022, GBHS Assessment Centres will follow these new guidelines, and only test individuals who meet the new eligibility criteria. A full list of those eligible for a COVID-19 PCR test can be found here.
New Visitor Restrictions Now in Place: GBHS has reduced the number of visitors permitted in hospital to one per patient, effective today. Some exceptions apply for patients in palliative care, and for children. Patients coming into the hospital for scheduled appointments are also asked to come alone, unless support is required. More details are available here
Outbreak on one Unit in Owen Sound: GBHS currently has an outbreak on unit 6-2 (Medicine) in the Owen Sound Hospital. Three patients and two staff tested positive for COVID, and all are asymptomatic. With the increasing number of cases in the community, it is unclear if the staff are linked to the outbreak. Unit 6-2 has been closed to visitors, admissions and discharges, and enhanced precautions are in place. No other services at the hospital are impacted by this situation.