‘This is not the worst’: CCH CEO expects hospital strain to get worse

Cornwall Community Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie (third row, second from left) speaks to Cornwall City Council on Thursday, April 8, 2021 about the current coronavirus sitaution at the hospital. (YourTV/YouTube via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – With roughly half its intensive care beds taken up by COVID-19 patients, the head of the Cornwall Community Hospital is warning “this is not the worst.”

CEO Jeanette Despatie told Cornwall city council Thursday afternoon she “can’t stress enough the pressure” on the local health care center which serves the region.

She says the hospital would normally be running 156-160 beds maximum at this time of year. There were 205 beds occupied today (Thursday) and 210 yesterday.

The hospital has 30 COVID-19 patients of which 18 are active and five are in the 11-bed ICU. CCH is also running surge capacity of 15 beds and that’s being used up too.

Despatie had a dire warning about the next few days as the province will be transferring “very large numbers” of patients out of Toronto to London and Kingston and possibly Ottawa to “make capacity for what they’re expecting in the GTA.”

She says Cornwall probably won’t see those patients transferred here. In fact, CCH has been transferring non-COVID patients to Brockville, Kemptville and Winchester.

“We are really feeling like we’re losing the battle right now,” she said.

The CEO expects a provincial directive tonight from the province to start postponing elective procedures. Despatie says they have already been working on that by cancelling some inpatient and elective surgeries.

Despatie believes Cornwall is a virus hot spot and it needs attention from provincial officials.

MP Eric Duncan, MPP Jim McDonell and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis also spoke at the meeting.

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