• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Maximizing Critical Care Capacity to Support Hospitals

April 28, 2021

TORONTO — In response to the recent and rapid rise in hospitalizations, ICU admissions and the threat to the province’s critical care capacity, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking further action to ensure hospital beds are available for COVID-19 patients in need of urgent care. To do so, the province is amending O. Reg. 272/21 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to ensure patients receive quality care in the most appropriate setting during the third wave of the pandemic, driven by variants of concern. This temporary emergency order will provide hospitals with the flexibility to transfer patients whose doctors have determined no longer require hospital care to long-term care or retirement homes without obtaining the consent of the patient or, where the patient is incapable, their substitute decision maker. The amended order can only be used during major surge events where the demand for critical care threatens to overwhelm a hospital and compromise care. Hundreds of individuals in hospital are waiting to be discharged to a long-term care home or another more appropriate care setting and first priority will be given to patients with less complex care needs and those who are able to be moved close to their preferred choice. “The spread of COVID-19 variants continues to pose a significant threat to our health system’s critical care capacity and the lives of Ontarians,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While this is an extremely difficult decision to make, the consequences of not doing so could be devastating if we don’t have the hospital beds we urgently need to care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients. Building on the more than 3,400 beds that have been added to the system since the beginning of the pandemic, our government will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure Ontarians have a safe place to be cared for in our hospitals.” Hospitals may rely upon this order only when necessary to respond to a major