Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is taking
steps to address a temporary staffing shortage caused by COVID-19.
Nearly 40 staff have tested positive for the
virus, primarily from household and community contacts, creating staffing
shortages in several areas. CCH also anticipates more staff will test positive
in the coming days as they await results at home.
In response, the hospital will be temporarily
slowing down services in its operating rooms and will be prioritizing urgent
surgeries. This was a recommendation to all hospitals in Ontario from the
provincial government so that staff can be redeployed to other areas.
If possible, members of the community should
save the Emergency Department for emergencies, and consider visiting family
doctors and walk-in clinics for non-urgent reasons. Emergency wait times may be
longer than usual; please be kind and respectful with staff and physicians.
Please do not come to the Emergency Department
for a COVID-19 test unless you also require medical attention as you may be
turned away. New guidance from the provincial government says hospitals cannot
provide PCR testing to asymptomatic individuals who do not require medical
The government of Ontario also announced that
public PCR tests will only be available for high-risk individuals who are
symptomatic and/or at risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, instead of
being widely available to anyone looking for a test.
Individuals who do not meet the above
criteria should not call the Assessment Centre to book an appointment, and
again, should not present themselves at the Emergency Department unless they
require medical attention.
More information will be shared with the community
from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit on updated testing guidelines.
“We appreciate how difficult this is for our
patients whose wait times or care may be delayed. The team is working very
hard to provide the highest quality care, and to return to normal operations as
soon as we can,” says Jeanette Despatie, CCH President and Chief Executive
Officer. “Like other local businesses and sectors, our workforce is being hit
hard by the Omicron variant,” adds Despatie.
Despite several reports that the Omicron
variant may cause a milder form of illness, CCH is seeing increasing
hospitalizations which correlate to the increasing case counts locally.
On Christmas Day, only 1 patient was admitted
at CCH with COVID-19; however, as of December 31, there are now 6 patients
admitted with the virus. Unvaccinated patients continue to suffer from the most
severe form of illness.
“It’s a reminder that we need to get
vaccinated and not completely let our guard down. People are still getting very
sick, and we need to protect our staff and maintain our healthcare system so we
can deliver critical non-COVID related healthcare services,” says Despatie.
All staff and physicians at CCH are fully
vaccinated against COVID-19 which means they are highly protected from severe
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