Erie Shores Healthcare among hospitals feeling staffing pinch

Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington October 29. 2014 file photo. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Just like other hospitals across Ontario, Erie Shores Healthcare is starting to experience staffing challenges because of rising COVID-19 cases.

“The greater the spread, the greater the risk for our staff as well,” said CEO Kristin Kennedy. “We’re starting to see the impacts of our staff having to be off work because they’re positive or they have a high-risk exposure.”

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit did not release local COVID-19 numbers on Monday morning because of the New Year’s Day statutory holiday. However, Windsor Regional Hospital reported 29 people in its care Sunday afternoon. There are four in intensive care, three of whom are not vaccinated.

The number of patients admitted to Erie Shores Healthcare with COVID-19 was not immediately available on Monday morning. Spokesperson Kevin Black indicated he would report them as soon as they became known.

Kennedy said with cases rising across the region, the hospital has begun to see “our admissions outweighing our capacity.”

She said the positivity rate for those tested at the assessment centre in Leamington is “quite high.”

The increase puts pressure on the hospital’s ability to care for non-COVID patients too, and Kennedy said the decision to implement a no-visitor policy last week was intended to protect those services.

“We’re really trying to put a bubble around programs and services and not have that interruption so that when you come to the hospital to seek care, we have the staff and the resources in place to care for our patients,” she said.

The Toronto Star reported 152 staff members at London Health Sciences Centre had tested positive for the virus. At Bluewater Health in Sarnia, five per cent of employees were in isolation.