Nunavut Post

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Experts are concerned about hospital capacity as Omicron spreads

Omicron spreads

Key Takeaways:

  • A surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the virus’s highly infectious Omicron variant has renewed experts’ concerns about Canada’s hospitals and healthcare workers’ ability to handle another wave of the pandemic.

According to Paul-Emile Cloutier, president of HealthCareCAN, the latest wave could exacerbate the current healthcare worker shortage. HealthCareCAN is an organization that represents research hospitals or regional health authorities.

“If they have to separate because they have the virus, that reduces the number of staff available,” Cloutier said in an interview on Sunday.

“As is customary, health professionals are stepping up once more to provide the care that patients require. They do it, however, when they are tired. They’re doing it when they’re completely exhausted. They’re doing it because they’ve reached the end of their rope.”

In recent weeks, the virus’s highly infectious Omicron variant has been driving an increase in COVID-19 cases across much of Canada.

The Olympic mixed doubles curling trials in Canada were canceled on Sunday due to an increase in athletes testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. Curling Canada stated that the “risks associated with travel” also played a role in the cancellation.

Cloutier stated that the number of cases in the coming days would be determined by whether people followed public health orders, monitored symptoms, and stayed at home.

Omicron spreads; Image from CTV News

“I believe everyone agrees that the numbers will rise,” he said. On Boxing Day, only a few health authorities released the number of COVID-19 infections. Ontario noted 9,826 new COVID-19 cases, a decrease from the previous week’s record-breaking 10,412 infections, but still, a significant increase over the 4,177 said a week earlier.

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease ace at the University Health Network in Toronto, believes the figures are likely higher than previously reported.

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“It’s impossible to believe that’s correct,” he said.

As hospitals and testing centers have reached their capacity, several provinces have asked people only to get tested if they have symptoms.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s health officer, previously stated that there had been long lines and delays at testing sites across the province. She urged people not to get tested to spend time with family and friends over the holidays, adding that those who feel ill should change their plans and self-isolate if symptoms develop.

“Unless drastic measures are taken, it is impossible for these numbers to slow down for at least the next three to four weeks.”

Source: CTV News

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