March 5, 2022

GTA hospital network declares ‘code orange’ to address hospital capacity, staffing challenges

The William Osler Health System has declared a “code orange” following what it calls an increase in COVID-19 patients and staffing shortages across its network.

In a news release issued Monday evening, Osler, which oversees the operations of Brampton Civic Hospital and Etobicoke General Hospital, said the measure is typically used when “capacity outpaces demand to ensure internal and external resources are deployed efficiently.”

“This move will enable us to continue to provide high-quality care to our patients, and we are grateful to our staff, physicians and volunteers who have moved swiftly to enact our Code Orange policy and procedures,” William Osler Health System President and CEO Dr. Naveed Mohammad said in a statement.

Moreover, the measure, which the hospital network says is temporary, will see patients transferred to neighbouring hospitals to free up capacity.

The news comes hours after the Ontario government announced sweeping public health measures aimed at blunting the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

Those measures include Ontario schools pivoting to remote learning until at least Jan. 17, the closure of non-essential businesses like bars and restaurants, and the pausing of non-urgent surgeries. According to the government, as of Jan. 5, hospitals will be instructed to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to protect hospital capacity.

Osler said that as a result of that directive, all affected patients are being contacted by the hospital network to reschedule their appointments while all urgent procedures will continue. 

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