Published Saturday, April 10, 2021 9:08AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 10, 2021 9:20AM EDT
Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital, said Saturday that there are now 572 patients with COVID-19 in Ontario intensive care units, a new record in the province. The province reported an even higher figure on Saturday, indicating that at least 585 COVID-19 patients are currently in the ICU.
In a video posted on social media, Warner said the province saw a record 77 new COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU over a 24-hour period.
“We can open up SickKids to adult patients, we can move patients from Toronto to Kingston and beyond, but eventually we will run out of places to move patients because we won’t have enough trained staff to care for them.”
Last week, SickKids Hospital announced that it had opened an eight-bed unit for adult COVID-19 patients in an effort to help increase ICU capacity in the city.
A spokesperson for Ornge confirmed to CP24 on Saturday that the air ambulance service has already begun transferring patients to SickKids.
On Friday, the province issued emergency orders that will allow hospitals to transfer patients to another hospital without obtaining their consent during "major surge events."
The orders came one day after most Ontario hospitals were instructed to suspend all elective surgeries due to the alarming number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
Warner said the influx in ICU patients means that Ontario hospitals could soon be forced to implement a triage protocol that would see doctors prioritizing care for those with the best chance of survival.
“This could happen very quickly,” Warner said.
“We need to get ahead of this. We need to anticipate this and provinces need to work together and I think the federal government needs to get involved to help coordinate the transfer of health-care worker resources from less affected provinces to more affected provinces, especially Ontario.”
He said the GTA is in dire need of ICU nurses to help care for the patients that are already in hospital and the ones that will be admitted in the coming days.
“We know the Atlantic provinces have done a great job because of their health-care policies and sacrifice of their citizens, but if we find ourselves in a situation where they are doing elective surgeries in Halifax and we a triaging patients in Toronto, that just can’t happen,” Warned added.