St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener says it is canceling some elective surgeries this week due to a high number of admissions to the emergency department and ongoing staffing pressures.

The hospital is also asking people coming to the emergency department to do so alone. In an update posted its website, the hospital said the changes would be temporary and are designed to improve patient flow amid heavy patient volumes.

People will still be allowed to accompany emergency room patients in some exceptional situations:

  • Patients who are critically ill
  • Patients who are near end of life
  • Acutely ill patients requiring treatment in the Emergency Department.
  • Patients experiencing a mental health crisis
  • Care Partners functioning as ‘essential care partners’ providing care to a patient who would be at risk if the care partner was not available. This includes patients under the age of 18 and adults with physical or cognitive impairments.

The hospital made the announcements Wednesday evening, citing high bed occupancy on the inpatient units and continued staffing pressures as reasons for these measures.

"We must cancel some elective surgeries for the rest of this week," the hospital said on Twitter. "Patients are being contacted, and their procedures will be re-booked as quickly as possible."

The hospital also said visitors may be asked to leave if they are not required.

“Patients requiring care will be prioritized based on urgency, regardless of the hospital you choose to go to. If your need is less urgent, we ask that you please be prepared for longer wait times,” the hospital said.