As cases continue to surge across the region and impact hospital capacity and resources, Durham Region’s top doctor and Lakeridge Health’s chief of staff are pleading with the community to do everything they can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle and Lakeridge Health Chief of Staff Dr. Tony Stone say the health and safety of all Durham residents and the protection of the health care system are “crucial” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, noting the situation is very serious.
“The situation across the province is extremely troubling – this is the most serious public health emergency we have faced in our history,” says Kyle, noting the number of new daily cases have broken records not only at the provincial level, but in Durham as well.
“The variants of concern are spreading at an alarming rate, affecting populations across all age groups and causing more serious illness,” Kyle continues, adding the health and safety of residents continues to be a top priority.
Kyle says everyone in health care is working hard to manage the spread of illness in the community, as well as working on vaccinating priority group residents according to vaccine availability and provincial guidelines.
“While we have administered over 155,000 vaccine doses, now is not the time to let our guard down,” says Kyle. “I urge everyone to continue to do the right thing.”
According to Stone, hospitals are experiencing extreme pressure on critical care capacity.
“We are witnessing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases here in Durham Region, and this has translated into more intensive care unit (ICU) and medical admissions than at any point during the pandemic,” he says.
Stone notes hospital staff are working to address the capacity and staffing pressures.
“We are deploying staff to work in areas of our hospitals with the greatest need,” he continues. “Ontario hospitals are mobilizing to share resources and transfer patients between facilities, when required.
Stone says health care workers are working “around the clock” to save lives, offer comfort, and protect the health of the community.
“Now, more than ever, we depend on a shared commitment to the provincial directives to get control of this virus,” says Stone. “Please support us by doing your part.”
Durham Public Health reported 495 new cases over the weekend, and another 178 cases Monday, bringing the total active cases across the region to 2,553 – 1,751 of which are COVID-19 variants of concern. This means the seven-day moving average positivity rate for variants of concern is 80 per cent.
Of those total active cases, 2,472 people are in home isolation and 81 are in hospital with 34 in the ICU.
A Community Telephone Town Hall is being held on Thursday, April 22, 2021, where residents can hear from Doctors Kyle and Stone, as well as Lakeridge Health’s new President and CEO Cynthia Davis, for an update on health care in Durham.
The town hall is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and registration is required.