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The Ottawa Hospital preps surge plans to admit up to 220 COVID-19 patients

Ottawa’s largest hospital is preparing to activate surge plans that will allow it to accommodate up to 220 COVID-19 patients as it braces for the worst impacts yet of the pandemic’s third wave.

The Ottawa Hospital said in a release Thursday that the situation in its COVID-19 units “continues to escalate.” The local health-care institution said the city has not yet reached “the peak of the third wave, which is tremendously concerning.”

The institution said it expects to implement “Level 2” surge plans in the coming days, which would see bed capacities increased and staff redeployed from non-urgent and emergent services.

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There are 84 people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 as of Thursday, with 25 people in local intensive care units.

Dr. Brent Moloughney, Ottawa’s deputy medical officer of health, warned Wednesday that local hospitals will likely be forced to admit 200 COVID-19 patients by the end of next week, with figures potentially rising to 400 people hospitalized with the virus next month unless the curve is bent.

The Ottawa Hospital said Thursday it’s prepared to accommodate upwards of 220 patients by implementing its surge capacity.

“We hope to never get there, but we are well prepared if we have to,” the hospital said in a statement.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached critical levels across Ottawa and throughout the province, with health-care institutions rushing to reallocate resources, add ICU beds and boost staffing levels to accommodate a surge of patients testing positive for the virus.

Click to play video: Ontario’s record COVID-19 hospitalizations threatens health care system

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, for example, said earlier this week it will prepare to accept adult patients for the first time as other hospitals in the region run out of space.

The Ottawa Hospital said it has been planning for situations like this since the pandemic began more than 13 months ago.

But a year-plus of pandemic care and procedures has taken its toll on front-line staff, the hospital noted.

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“This pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has been particularly challenging for health-care workers. Now more than ever, we need to help and support each other,” the hospital statement read.

The best way for residents to support the hospital now, it added, is to stay home whenever possible and abide by provincial and local health directives. These efforts can keep other residents safe and lowers the risk that additional patients will need to be admitted to local hospitals.

In the meantime, staff at The Ottawa Hospital say they are continuing to provide “the care we would want for our loved ones” throughout the pandemic’s difficult third wave.

“That kind of commitment, compassion, and kindness will get us through this pandemic.”

Click to play video: COVID-19 survivor, 22, urges all to take variants seriously

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