Ontario works to create more critical care beds in hospitals as COVID-19 cases soar
Inside Ontario's hard-hit hospitals, staff are stretched thin, with experts warning that the third wave could cause ICUs to fill up with more patients than there are doctors and critical care nurses to treat them.
TORONTO -- Ontario says it will add hundreds of critical care beds this week to help with an influx of COVID-19 cases that is pushing the health-care system to the brink.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is exploring its options to boost hospital capacity and staffing levels as variants of concern wreak havoc on the province.
She said in a news conference on Monday that hospitals have been instructed to ramp down all surgeries "except the ones that are absolutely life-and-death matters."
The cancellation of elective surgeries is "unfortunate, but sadly necessary right now," Elliott said in the legislature.
The province reported 4,401 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday -- more than 1,280 in Toronto -- and 15 new deaths due to the virus.
The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units jumped to 612 -- setting another new high.
The province said the various measures will eventually help create between 700 and 1,000 ICU beds to treat the rising number of patients.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.