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Lakeridge Health curtailing non-emergency services, surgeries

Lakeridge Health is cutting back on elective surgeries due to the increased number in COVID-19 admissions.

A letter to the community, on behalf of Chief of Staff Dr. Tony Stone and President and CEO Cynthia Davis, states that its hospitals are experiencing “extreme pressure” on critical care capacity.

“We are witnessing the highest case counts of COVID-19 in Ontario, widespread community transmission of the virus, and more critical care admissions than at any point during the pandemic,” the letter reads, noting critical care and medical admissions in Durham Region are higher than at any point during waves one and two and are continuing to rise.

“But despite the strain of the pandemic, we are finding solutions,” the letter continues, noting staff and physicians, who are also parents, partners, siblings, sons and daughters, are showing up every day to provide “high quality and safe care with compassion and kindness.”

The letter notes hospitals across the province are working together to share resources and transfer patients between facilities, when required, and Lakeridge Health continues to work with local health partners to get as many Durham residents vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Emergency surgeries will continue, as well as prioritized non-emergency and time-sensitive surgeries, such as cancer surgeries, according to Lakeridge Health.

However, to ensure the ability to provide urgent and medical care, Lakeridge Health has had to curtail non-urgent, non-emergency services, such as hip replacements, and ambulatory services, such as X-rays, blood work, rehabilitation, and other outpatient services.

“In doing so, we are creating more capacity in our hospitals – space and staff to serve the patients we currently have and those we expect to see in the weeks ahead,” the letter continues.

Capacity needs will be assessed daily.

“We know the ramp-down of non-urgent and non-emergency services will be disruptive for many people and are hopeful we can resume these services soon.”

As the pandemic continues to evolve, Lakeridge Health says they have surge capacity plans in place to ensure the space to accommodate the increasing COVID-19 and acute admissions being seen in the hospitals.

As part of this plan, Lakeridge Health has suspended routine obstetrics services at Port Perry Hospital’s New Life Centre. Pregnant patients under the care of Family Medicine at the Port Perry Hospital will be transferred to the care of Family Medicine at the Oshawa Hospital.

However, any pregnant patient in north Durham who needs emergency obstetric care will still be able to receive care at the Port Perry Hospital, according to Lakeridge Health.

Labour and delivery services continue to be available at the Ajax Pickering Hospital.

“We continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation daily and make decisions accordingly,” states Lakeridge Health. “We hope to resume these services as soon as we are able to do so.”