Ontario's pause on hospital procedures results in massive backlog at OSMH

The Ontario government is helping hospitals revive after a challenging year with millions of dollars in funding.

Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH) will receive $3.3. million in ongoing base funding as it starts to tackle a massive surgical backlog.

Hospital staff are working to expedite an overwhelming number of patients put on hold for months during the ramp-down.

"We estimate over 1,000 cases have been delayed or postponed," noted OSMH President and CEO Carmine Stumpo.

"We are carefully assessing all pending surgeries and scheduling them based on acuity," said OSMH chief of surgery Dr. Stephen Will.

The province directed Ontario hospitals to temporarily pause non-urgent surgeries and procedures to help one another manage beds and ICU capacity as COVID-19 cases surged during the peak of the third wave.

Stumpo said the provincial boost is necessary to purchase new supplies for operating rooms at the Orillia hospital.

"We also need the capacity for those who require in-patient care after their surgery, and those cases we are already working at capacity. We have seen the needs of this community increase," the hospital president said.

COVID-19 TESTING CENTRE RELOCATING

As efforts inside soldiers memorial ramp up again, the hospital-run COVID-19 assessment centre at Rotary Place winds down and is on the move.

"To be able to give this beautiful ice pad back to the city and back to the skaters of Orillia," explained the clinic's acting director Melanie Moore.

The clinic will relocate back to the Kiwanis building at OSMH and offer appointments during evenings and weekends.

Moore said the COVID-19 assessment centre had administered more than 60,000 tests but noted daily testing rates had fallen significantly to roughly 80 per week and 40 on weekends.

Testing and infection rates spiked in February and March. "We're trying to brace ourselves that there may be slight peaks with camping or into the school season in September, so we're trying to factor that into our testing centre move," Moore said.

"We look forward to moving forwards, but very cautiously in the sense that we want to progress, and we don't want to see ourselves slip backwards," Stumpo added.

The mass vaccination centre run by the Simcoe Muskoka health unit will continue to operate in the Orillia Room at Rotary Place on University Avenue.