Hospital leaders provided a somber picture of what is currently happening on the frontlines Tuesday morning, worried about what the Omicron wave will do to them in the coming weeks.

“This week our hospitals across the region once again experienced the most additional pressure we’ve seen yet through this pandemic,” said Lee Fairclough, President of St. Mary’s General Hospital, during the region’s weekly COVID-19 update. “This is accentuated by one of the biggest differences with this Omocrion wave, and that’s the number staff impacted by COVID.”

Fairclough is also the lead for Waterloo Wellington Hospitals.


Every Tuesday and Friday, Waterloo Wellington Hospitals provide an update.

It includes data from St. Mary’s General Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Guelph General Hospital, Wellington Health Care Alliance, Groves Memorial Community Hospital, and North Wellington Health Care.

Fairclough noted COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped and the number of staff taking time off as a result of the virus has nearly doubled in the past week.





During the media briefing, Waterloo Region’s hospital leaders stressed that available hospital beds are limited.

“We have six available beds to serve our community and only one of those is an ICU bed,” said Patrick Gaskin, president of Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Gaskin noted that for the first time ever, officials at CMH have decided to admit patients into units that are already experiencing an outbreak.

“We’ve admitted to our outbreaks. We’ve had to in order to keep the flow of patients. The situation is that serious,” said Gaskin.

The president of Grand River Hospital said only 12 beds were available but some were blocked by outbreaks.

“Physical capacity really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have staff,” added Ron Gagnon.

Meanwhile, St. Mary’s Hospital did not have any beds available at the time of Friday morning’s briefing.

Officials acknowledged they are starting to seeing more patients coming in for other reasons and then testing positive for COVID-19.

“At the end of the day, even if somebody comes in because they have heart problems, and they have COVID, their care is a lot more complicated. They deteriorate more and they will stay with us longer,” said Gagnon

Hospital leaders are still urging residents to go to an emergency department if they are in need of any serious medical attention.

However, the Gagnon stressed “our ability to deliver care is becoming more and more strained every day.”


This week, Waterloo Region’s hospitals announced two COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centers for patients with moderate symptoms.

Hospital leaders say the clinical assessment centers are geared to residents whose mild symptoms have worsened, and are designed to alleviate the pressure on local hospitals.