Dozens of non-urgent surgeries postponed due to flu at St. Boniface

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With high numbers of people headed to Winnipeg hospitals with the flu, St. Boniface Hospital is making room by postponing or rescheduling dozens of elective or non-urgent surgeries this week.

A Winnipeg Regional Health Authority spokesperson tells CTV News that from Monday to Wednesday 28 procedures have been postponed and another 7 have been rescheduled to happen at either Pan Am Clinic or Victoria Hospital.

A press release from St. Boniface Hospital explained that postponing surgeries opens up temporary beds for patients who are in immediate need of care during flu season.

The hospital also issued the following statement:

“It is important to restate that urgent and emergent surgeries continue to take place. This includes the prioritization of elective cancer surgeries and cardiac surgeries. Some elective surgeries may be rescheduled at a later date or occurring at other health care facilities. Patients whose surgeries are affected will be contacted by their surgeon’s office 2 to 3 days ahead of their surgery date if their surgery is rescheduled. Elective surgery beds are being re-designated for patients with influenza on an as-needed basis. This means scheduling adjustments are made day-to-day," told CTV News in an email.

The WRHA has also transferred patients to at least one hospital outside the city. The spokesperson said to date fewer than five people have been moved from Winnipeg to Brandon for care and that those patients could be transferred safely.

Flu activity in Manitoba is still considered to be high according to the latest weekly provincial flu update. Both Influenza A and B, as well as a high volume of patients with other respiratory illnesses, appear to be surging at the same time this year.

The WRHA says it’s ICU is still operating at overcapacity.

Health Authority officials also thank staff for their work during this busy time.