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Joe Brant Hospital response to Omicron

Joe Brant Hospital response to Omicron

Like hospitals across the province, Joseph Brant in Burlington is struggling with the Omicron wave.

JBH CEO Eric Vandewall

In a letter to the community hospital CEO Eric Vandewall says Omicron is presenting a double whammy for JBH—greatly increased numbers of patients seeking care while at the same time the pandemic is causing hospital staff to call in sick.

Some facts:

  • 166 hospital workers are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms (Jan. 3) and an additional 72 staff are in isolation pending test results. On average, JBH is seeing 50-70 new workers entering isolation daily.
  • Seasonal illnesses are circulating, contributing to an increase in staff sick calls.
  • Prior to Omicron, the hospital was already operating with a 9.4% staff shortage.
  • There is a 30% increase in the number of people coming to the JBH Emergency Department (ED) for care as compared to December 2020.
  • There is an increased number of patients being admitted with complex medical issues.
  • There is an increase in patients who are COVID-19 positive. Currently 11 inpatients are being treated for COVID-19, with 4 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

As a result, the Hospital has implemented a ramp down of procedural and scheduled surgical care beginning today, Writes Vandewall, “This will allow us to redeploy the health human resources in units that need the additional staffing support. We will continue to provide urgent and emergent surgeries, including cancer surgeries.”

Residents can help ease crunch

JBH advises:

  • If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to come to the ED. Coming to the ED risks exposing vulnerable people to the virus. Please call your primary care provider or TeleHealth Ontario for advice on managing mild COVID-19 symptoms at home.
  • If you are eligible under new provincial testing guidelines, you may book your COVID-19 test at Our ED cannot administer COVID-19 tests upon request.
  • If you visit the ED, you will be seen based on the severity of your illness.  Patients are seen based on an assessment of individual illness including many community members who arrive by ambulance. As a result of high volumes, this will likely mean longer than normal waiting times for less severe illness.
  • Our Emergency Department is safe and our nurses and doctors are ready to care for patients for need our help. If you need emergency care, do not hesitate to call 911 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.
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