Ottawa Hospital warns of 'longer than usual' emergency, ambulance waits

The hospital cited COVID-19 outbreaks combined with shortages of staff who are sick with the virus or have been exposed.

Ottawa Citizen 2 minute read May 4, 2022

Ottawa Hospiatl reporting longer waits at emergency, ambulance offloads. Jean Levac / Postmedia News

The Ottawa Hospital says some patients may face “longer than usual” waits as it contends with increased pressure on both its emergency departments and ambulance offloading.

In a statement Wednesday, the hospital cited COVID-19 outbreaks combined with shortages of staff who are sick with the virus or have been exposed. The hospital is “adapting” to make sure patients get needed care, TOH said.

“If you need emergency care, you should continue to come to the Emergency Department,” the hospital said.  “Patients will be triaged based on severity of illness/injury, and some patients may experience longer than usual wait times.

“Health-care providers are working hard to ensure that those who need care will receive it. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we continue to navigate the challenges of this pandemic.”

Last week, the union representing the city’s paramedics said that an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, together with longer offload times, nursing shortages and frequent “level-zero” events were creating a “perfect storm.”

Other local hospitals were reporting significant staffing pressures linked to COVID-19 as the provincial government moved April 22 to extend mask mandates in high-risk settings.

As of Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health reported 59 ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in institutional settings, including hospital wards, long-term care facilities, retirement homes and nursing homes.

OPH reported 39 Ottawa residents in hospital because of an active infection, six in intensive care.

Counting non-Ottawa residents, there were 114 patients with COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals as of Monday, almost evenly split between those hospitalized because of the virus and those hospitalized for other reasons. Nine were in intensive care.