New restrictions start on January 5.
Ontario is pausing all surgeries and procedures that are not urgently required starting this week.
The Ontario government announced on January 3 that the province is moving back to step two of the Roadmap to Reopen starting January 5 at 12:01 a.m. until at least January 26 with some slight adjustments due to the condition of COVID-19 in the province.
As part of the move toward tighter restrictions — which include a return to remote learning, closing down restaurants, bars and gyms, and tighter capacity and gathering limits — the province will also pause non-urgent surgeries and procedures.
On January 5, Ontario is reinstating the directive that instructs hospitals to "pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity," according to a government handout.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott acknowledged in a press conference on Monday that Ontario has hit all-time high COVID-19 numbers and that that number is expected to grow in the next few days.
"This rapid rise of Omicron cases, combined with staff absenteeism due to Omicron infection and exposure, could result in the province's hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn't taken to curb transmission," said Elliott.
The Ontario government's response to shut down non-urgent surgeries and procedures is a part of an overall response to an "alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations."
According to the government, "The rapid rise of Omicron cases, which may soon number in the hundreds of thousands, could result in the province's hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn't taken to curb transmission. When one in 100 cases goes to hospital, it means that with this rapid increase in transmission the number of new cases requiring hospitalization will also rapidly increase daily."
"For example, 50,000 cases per day would mean 500 hospital admissions per day."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.