Winter is wasting no time this year, with heavy snowfall already being reported in many of the province's regions. However, with the cold comes Ontario’s flu season, which has many of the province’s health experts preparing for the worst this year.
Health Sciences North, an academic health science centre in Greater Sudbury, has already begun taking measures to help reduce an expected increase in patient volumes this season. HSN is opening 12 additional beds in its Medical Inpatient Overflow unit to prevent people from being cared for in hallways.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Christine Elliott revealed that the Ontario government had upped its vaccine order by a whopping 10%.
The move will also see an increase of high-dose shots, which allow residents over 65 an over increased protection from the virus. “We are actively advertising for people to go and get the flu vaccine, if not for themselves to protect others around them, Elliot told The Toronto Star.
According to Elliot, the government’s goal is to provide more spaces to put beds for the 2019 flu season by providing financial help to home care and community supports agencies.
However, it is uncertain whether the efforts will be enough to tackle this year’s expected patient increase.
“There are a few hospitals that do have some extra spaces and beds that are available,” she stated.
“We want to make sure that every possible bed is available for patient care, knowing that flu season will bring more people into our hospitals but also to deal with the hallway health care situation.”
Ford’s government had promised earlier this year to put an end to the treatment of patients in hospital emergency room hallways and other spaces by early as 2020.
However, according to CBC, Elliot later disputed the claim. "The premier is really expressing that we're trying to do it as quickly as possible," she said at the time. "While we hope that it will be within the next year, it may take a little bit longer."
Ford’s overpromising also recently caused him to face backlash from hundreds of protesters at Queen’s Park over his cuts to educations.