Local hospitals prepare for potential increase in ICU patients as provincial admissions reach all-time high

Hospital officials in Waterloo Region are keeping a close eye on ICU admissions as the number of patients in Ontario reached an all-time high Monday.

There are currently 494 patients in intensive care across the province.

"It's a troubling picture," St. Mary's General Hospital President Lee Fairclough said.

"We typically see a rise in our own admissions in a pattern of about two weeks after what we start seeing in the GTA."

According to Fairclough, 12 per cent of the people in the ICU at St. Mary's have tested positive for COVID-19. Patients who tested postiive for a variant of concern are two times as likely to end up in the ICU and 1.5 times more likely to die from the disease, according to Fairclough.

"We're seeing it among younger people," she said.

The hospital also wants to maintain additional open capacity in case other health need to transfer COVID-19 patients to out-of-town hospitals.

Cheryl Evans with Grand River Hospital said there are eight patients at the hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19. She said they haven't received any transfers from the GTA at this point.

Cambridge Memorial Hospital's ICU is at 70 per cent capacity.

"The hospital will continue to collaborate with regional and provincial partners to ensure that anyone needing a critical care bed will have one," an emailed statement from hospital officials said in part.

That hospital also hasn't received any transfers from out-of-region hospitals at this point.

Local hospitals received patient transfers from the GTA in January during the height of the second wave in Ontario.

With reporting by CTV News Kitchener's Carmen Wong