Message from CEO: impact of Wave 3 ahead of us

April 7, 2021

Last week, the province was seeing about 2,000 COVID cases per day, up from an average of about 1,000 in early March. This week, we are seeing over 3,000 cases per day, the highest case counts since mid-January. Of these COVID cases, the variants of concern make up 85 per cent – this is Wave 3 of the pandemic. Despite vaccination efforts and public health measures, case counts are continuing to rise across Ontario.

This is resulting in significant pressure on hospitals and the health system. At Unity Health, we are seeing record high numbers of COVID positive patients. Across the province, there are over 500 patients with COVID in ICUs, and we are expecting to see that number exceed 700 in the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the full impact of Wave 3 is still ahead of us.

With the number of acutely ill patients requiring admission to an inpatient bed growing significantly, hospitals are once again being directed by Ontario Health to implement our surge plans.

What this means for our patients

In order for us to create capacity at our sites, we began a ramp down of our services earlier this week, reducing the number of operating room blocks and surgeries requiring inpatient stays. We are making this difficult decision in order to ensure beds are available to accommodate the most urgent and critically ill patients.

This means that there is a potential that your surgery may be cancelled. We will make every effort to notify you as soon as possible should it be necessary to cancel your surgery. If your surgery has already been cancelled, we will be reaching out with a new date for your procedure in the coming days. We understand this is disappointing news for our patients and we apologize for the stress and inconvenience this will likely cause.

In an effort to reduce foot traffic at our sites, we will also be moving as many of our clinic visits to virtual visits as possible and appropriate. Again, we will get in touch with you if this applies to you.

Hospitals across the Greater Toronto Area are also experiencing these same pressures due to the sharp increase of COVID-19 transmission in the community. We are all working together to protect our health-care system and ensure that any Ontarian who requires care can access it.

How you can help with our pandemic response

  1. Get vaccinated – if you are eligible, please book an appointment. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is our best hope at ending this pandemic. Getting vaccinated will help you fight the virus if you are exposed, and it will help protect people around you.
  2. Whether you have been vaccinated or not, please continue to follow public health measures: wear your mask, physically distance and practice good hand hygiene.
  3. Please follow the provincial stay-at-home orders.  This means everyone should stay at home as much as possible, and only leave for essential purposes, such as getting groceries and medication, attending medical appointments, work if you are unable to work from home, and outdoor exercise.

These are difficult times and I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work and dedication of everyone at Unity Health, as well as all health-care heroes across the province. Thank you for your ongoing care of all our patients.

Sincerely,

Tim

President and CEO
Unity Health Toronto