'No longer a possibility to skirt the rules': Region's health officials speak about rising local case counts
LONDON, ONT. -- There’s a grim warning from local health officials as COVID-19 case counts continue to soar.
Middlesex-London has not even seen the full impact of cases resulting from get-togethers over the Easter holiday weekend, said top doctors in a virtual news conference Monday. And now is the time to try to turn things around.
“For those who have yet to cancel plans, please do so now,” said Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Alex Summers.
“It is no longer a possibility for us to skirt the rules if we want the system to remain intact in that we are able to provide the health care that we want and we can get through this to get the vaccine into enough arms.”
His comments come as the region records another day of new COVID-19 cases of more than 100.
In addition, London Health Sciences Centre is reporting 53 COVID-19 inpatients as of Monday, with 20 in critical care.
LHSC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Dukelow said that over the past week the hospital has taken in just seven COVID-19 patients from outside the region, the overwhelming majority are from the local community. Medical staff are being redeployed to meet the demands of COVID-19 patients.
“Areas of the hospital such as post anesthetic care units has or is being converted in some situations into ICU beds. In order to do that we do have to redeploy staff. So we take staff that would normally work in the operating room and we ask them to work as ICU staff. That’s nurses, respiratory therapists and otherwise."
The Ontario Nurses Association says its members are anxious about being transferred to positions they may be unfamiliar with.
President Vicki McKenna, an RN based at LHSC, says nurses want to help but will need support.
“There’s so much specialized treatment that’s involved in the care that’s provided in our hospitals that you know you just can’t hop into a unit that you’ve never worked in and feel really comfortable and ready to go. They will need support and training.”
In the meantime, Dr. Summers said any positive effects resulting from the stay-at-home order will not be seen for a couple of weeks.
“Our concern of course is that these numbers will continue to rise if we do not adhere and follow the stay at home order.”