Hospital capacity between 97 and 126 per cent in Hamilton

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Published December 18, 2023 at 2:51 pm

Hamilton Health Sciences, which operates the city’s hospitals, reports that its four locations are almost all over capacity with the worst reaching over 125 per cent.

This information comes from the latest HHS numbers from Dec. 14, in which they described the “significant pressure” they face. Three hospitals exceed their capacity, while the fourth in almost full;

  • Hamilton General Hospital – 105 per cent
  • Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre 1 110 per cent
  • McMaster Children’s Hospital – 97 per cent
  • West Lincoln Memorial Hospital – 126 per cent

“On some wards, the number of patients needing care exceeds the number of beds available. This means that some patients may receive care in non-traditional locations, such as hallways,” HHS  wrote.

This is driven primarily by the surge in respiratory viruses like COVID-19, the flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), prompting warnings from the city for residents to get their vaccines.

Meanwhile, although which one is not specified, one of the hospitals has seen a COVID-19 outbreak. Across all HHS hospitals, there are 100 admitted COVID-19 patients, seven of whom are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This is a significant jump from the previous update which reported 80 COVID-19 patients.

As a result of this increased strain, HHS reports they’ve had an average of 60 people waiting on a hospital bed, with a peak of 77 people waiting. In November, hospitals reported about 50 people a day coming to the emergency room, a 40 per cent jump.

Children are a major source of this spike. Previously McMaster Children’s Hospital reported and average 125 patients a day in September but that’s increased 31 per cent to 164 a day in December. At its busiest, the McMaster Children’s Hospital saw 184 patients in one day.

In December 33 children were admitted with the flu, RSV or COVID, up from 27 patients on November 20. The majority, 18, have RSV. “Not all kids with respiratory illnesses need to go the emergency department. Unless your child is experiencing serious symptoms, talk to your family doctor or visit an urgent care centre,” HHS wrote.

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