Some Cornwall hospital surgeries on hold

The Cornwall Community Hospital on McConnell Avenue. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – With dozens of employees testing positive for the coronavirus in recent days, the Cornwall Community Hospital is putting some surgeries on hold.

Nearly 40 staff have tested positive after being infected at home or in the community, CCH said in a statement Friday, leading to a “temporary staffing shortage.”

“CCH also anticipates more staff will test positive in the coming days as they await results at home,” the hospital said.

The health care center says it’s following provincial government guidance in “slowing down services” in operating rooms and putting urgent surgeries to the front of the line.

The Ontario government asked hospitals to suspend non-urgent surgeries due to the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases.

CCH did not indicate how many surgeries were being postponed.

Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie says the workforce is being “hit hard by the Omicron variant,” much like other local businesses.

“We appreciate how difficult this is for our patients whose wait times or care may be delayed. The team is working very hard to provide the highest quality care, and to return to normal operations as soon as we can,” she said.

As for patients coming into the hospital with Omicron, CCH says it had one patient admitted on Dec. 25 but six days later that rose to six patients. “Unvaccinated patients continue to suffer from the most severe form of illness.”