WINNIPEG — Manitoba transferred two COVID-19 patients in intensive care units to Thunder Bay, Ont. due to an increase in new patients arriving in Manitoba hospitals.
Shared Health confirmed the decision was made on Tuesday, saying two patients were moved to Ontario to help ease the strain on ICU staffing.
“Over the past week, Manitoba’s hospitals have been dealing with a significant increase in admissions, to both medicine units and ICUs. The compounding effect of multiple days of admissions well over the norm and far beyond what we experienced during wave two has placed extreme strain on our staffing resources,” a spokesperson for Shared Health said in an emailed statement.
Shared Health said between May 13 and 17, ICUs in Manitoba admitted 34 patients with COVID-19, which is nearly half of the normal pre-COVID baseline capacity for critical care in Manitoba, which is 72.
The spokesperson said the province’s critical capacity was at significant risk on Tuesday due to a combination of “continued high admissions, no ICU patients that were sufficiently recovered for a move to a medicine ward, and an increase in the number of very sick patients in our medical wards at risk of needing to be transferred into ICU.”
“To ensure our ability to care for Manitobans, the decision was made to transfer two stable, COVID-positive ICU patients to Thunder Bay for ongoing care,” the spokesperson said, saying the transfers gave capacity in the immediate term while the planning is underway to increase ICU staffing resources.
Manitoba has scaled back surgical procedures to increase ICU staff. In addition, patients in some cases have been transferred to personal care homes and to other hospitals across the province to increase space.
Shared Health said hospitals are seeing younger and healthier patients requiring care for COVID-19 than they did in the second wave of the pandemic.
“These patients are very, very ill and they require our care,” the spokesperson said. “We cannot sustain these kinds of surges for long.”
Shared Health advised Manitobans to stay home over the May long weekend to help reduce stress on emergency departments.
Manitoba’s hospitalization numbers for Wednesday have not yet been released due to a technical issue. On Tuesday, 278 Manitobans were in hospital with COVID-19. Of these cases, 216 are considered active while 62 are no longer infectious but still need care. There were 70 patients in ICU, including 51 active COVID-19 cases and 19 cases that are no longer infectious but still need critical care.
This is a developing story. More to come.
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