More than 400 employees off due to COVID-19 at hospitals in Cambridge, Kitchener and Guelph

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More than 400 staff members at hospitals in Cambridge, Guelph and Kitchener are away from their jobs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for Grand River Hospital in Kitchener says that as of Wednesday, around 200 staff members have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are currently isolating due to exposure to the virus.

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“We are feeling the impact of this. Staffing in some units is a challenge that is being mitigated daily,” Cheryl Evans told Global News in an email.

“We’ve limited surgeries to accommodate only urgent, emergent and cancer cases until January 15 and are reviewing staffing across the hospital continually, to be able to redeploy staff and other resources to support the provision of urgent and inpatient care for our community where it is needed.”

She says the area’s largest hospital, which has around 3,600 employees, is also turning to virtual care when it is able.

It is a similar story across the city at St. Mary’s General Hospital, where they are currently working to fill the void left by 65 staff members who have been forced to isolate because of the virus.

“Staffing across healthcare was one of our biggest challenges before the pandemic and has now reached critical levels and Ontario Health’s directive to hospitals to temporarily suspend non-urgent or non-emergent care is in response to that,” SMGH spokesperson Dayna Giorgio told Global News.

Her hospital has around 1,600 employees, as does Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

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The hospital down the road in Cambridge had around 83 staff members missing due to the virus on Wednesday, up from 69 a day earlier.

“With surgery ramping down on January 3 (as ordered by Ontario Health – we continue to do emergency and urgent cancer surgeries), we are managing but the occupancy in hospital remains high, with 95% of our medicine beds occupied,” CMH spokesperson Stephan Beckhoff said.

A spokesperson for Guelph General Hospital also had 72 staff members missing as of Wednesday, with 22 of those suffering from COVID-19.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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