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Area Hospitals prepare to resume regular surgeries and diagnostic procedures

With the COVID pandemic beginning to taper off area hospitals are set to resume scheduled surgeries and procedures. The Hamilton Norfolk Haldimand Brant Burlington Hospital CEOs Committee has issued a notice that reads in part:

Hospitals across the region are working together to gradually resume scheduled care for patients. During thepast two months, many aspects of hospital care were disrupted to create capacity for patients with COVID-19,optimize the use of personal protective equipment, and decrease the spread of the virus. While hospitals continued to provide emergency and urgent surgeries and procedures, the majority of scheduled care and procedures was deferred. Many onsite, outpatient services were also temporarily discontinued or rebooked using virtual care technology.

Hospital teams have been working to develop a staged approach to gradually and safely resume some scheduled, procedures and outpatient services across Ontario. Each hospital has developed a plan using the criteria and approval process developed by Ontario Health. These plans have been approved by local public health units, reviewed at a regional level, and approved by Ontario Health –West.

This week, the provincial government announced revisions to the Chief Medical Officer of HealthDirective #2 to reflect the gradual restart of deferred and elective services. During the coming days and weeks, the initial phase of hospital plans will be activated, including a gradual increase in surgical, procedural, and onsite, outpatient care in area hospitals. Within program areas, patients will be prioritized on the basis of acuity and need. Hospital teams will continue to use virtual care technology where possible and appropriate, while also providing additional onsite services, based on need.

Hospitals are required to reserve a prescribed amount of inpatient bed capacity for COVID-19 care and maintain the ability to adjust service and occupancy levels in the event of a resurgence. There remains a continued focus on ensuring adequate inventory of personal protective equipment, as well as drugs required for surgeries, appropriate staffing levels, and the availability of post-hospital care.

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