As the number of COVID-19 patients rises, the provincial government promises to add 700 to 1,000 additional ICU beds. The province and the health-care industry are scrambling to increase capacity by transferring patients to other hospitals. According to the president of the Ontario Nurses Association, there is already a nursing shortage in hospital intensive care units. On Sunday, 4,250 new infections were reported, with 741 patients admitted to intensive care in Ontario.
To assist ICU staff, Humber River Hospital has redeployed nurses from other units as well as nursing students however those with critical-care certificate are in short supply. “Trying to get a vacation has been difficult, and they are a little overworked,” the hospital says.
Over the next four months, Ontario expects to be 4,145 hospital nurses short. The government has pleaded with other provinces to send medical personnel who are desperately needed. “People get tired all the time, and it affects the family,” says Dr. Ali Ghafouri, an intensivist at Humber River Hospital.