Toronto critical care doc says out-of-province help needed to combat COVID surge in Ontario hospitals

Dr. Michael Warner wants health-care workers from other provinces reallocated to Ontario

Unless immediate action is taken now to help ease a spike in ICU patients, Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital, warns the situation is going to get much worse.

Warner said the Ford government needs to work with the other premiers and Ottawa to reallocate health-care workers from provinces with fewer COVID-19 cases and send them to Ontario.

“We can open up SickKids to adult patients, we can move patients from Toronto to Kingston and beyond but eventually we will run out of places to move patients because we won’t have enough trained staff to care for them in the beds that they need to go to,” he said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

Warner said hospitals are on the brink of facing a triage situation unless governments work together to resolve the hospital crisis in Ontario.

“We need ICU nurses here, in the GTA, to care for the patients that are coming and the patients that we have already. Any type of jurisdictional barriers need to be taken down; Premiers need to work together,” he said.

“We need to get ahead of this, we need to anticipate this and provinces need to work together.”

To deal with a growing number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the Ford government issued two emergency orders on Friday evening. They allow hospitals to transfer patients without their consent and to redeploy home-care workers to hospitals during a surge.

The province reported 1,524 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Saturday. Of those, a record 585 patients are being cared for in ICUs.