KITCHENER -- Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are increasing in Waterloo Region as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Tom Langan and Larry Dietrich both spent weeks in the ICU recovering from COVID-19.

"I wouldn't wish it on anyone," Langan said. "I'm still hearing from my wife and children what they went through."

"It felt like I was in a deep sleep or dream," Dietrich said.

It's something more families are going through now during the third wave of the pandemic.

"I think we continue to see a very troubling rise in ICU cases provincially," said Lee Fairclough, the COVID-19 lead for Waterloo-Wellington hospitals. "What that means as well now is we are starting to see hospitalizations from within our region, as well as supporting transfers into our ICUs because of that rise in cases."

Here's a breakdown of COVID-19 patients in local ICUs, including patients who are no longer positive but still need critical care.

  • Grand River Hospital: 12
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital: Eight
  • St. Mary's General Hospital: Six
  • Guelph General Hospital: Seven

Fairclough said about a third of those patients are out-of-town transfers. An exact number of transfers will be provided on Thursday.

"All of us are planning for a steep rise in cases and the steep rise in critical care and acute medicine care," Fairclough said.

Hospitals are working to open up more ICU beds and create more capacity. If regional ICUs reach 100 per cent capacity, patients may need to be sent first to other hospitals in neighbouring regions, and as a last resort, a field hospital being set up in Hamilton.”

COVID-19 survivors and their families said statistics only tell part of the story.

"ICU is that unpredictablility of every single, am I going to lose my dad or not," said Dietrich's daughter, Alyssia. "It's not just a number, it's your loved one."

Fairclough noted local ICU patients are younger than they were during the first and second waves.