'It's a huge relief': Local hospitals avoid triage protocol as ICU admissions level out
KITCHENER -- With admissions to Ontario's critical care units levelling out, local hospitals say it looks like they’ll be able to steer clear of ‘last resort’ triage protocols for the time being.
"As a clinician, it is a worrisome place to be in when you’re deciding who gets an acute care or critical care bed," said Dr. Asim Masood, the chief of staff at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
Triage protocol forces doctors to pick who gets life-saving care and who doesn’t. measures that local hospitals say they’ll be able to avoid as the province continues to see positive trends in the fight against COVID-19.
"It's a huge relief that we're not going to have to do that," added Dr. Masood. "It is stressful, difficult, and it's a difficult conversation to have with loved ones."
On Wednesday, Ontario reported 882 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU, with 51 of those patients in the Waterloo-Wellington area, although these numbers do not include patients who don't have the virus.
"We know that hospitalizations always follow a few weeks after we see that sharp rise in cases. What we know with the variants is that this can change very quickly," said Lee Fairclough, the hospital lead for Waterloo-Wellington and the president of St. Mary's General Hospital.
Meanwhile, non-emergency surgeries are still halted in Ontario and a backlog of patients is building, as officials hope this may change if ICU admissions continue to drop.
"Hopefully we can see the reduction in caring for COVID patients and also be able to get back to the care that we need to be providing more generally," said Fairclough.
Officials added that anyone experiencing a medical emergency should not hesitate to go to hospital.
"We don't want you to delay any care if you think that's necessary," said Dr. Masood
Hospitals will release a more detailed look at the current status of critical care locally in their weekly report on Thursday.