Declining COVID-19 cases in Mississauga allowing hospitals to resume elective surgeries, but threat of second wave looms
After months of lockdown the provincial government has given Trillium Health Partners the green light to resume elective surgeries and diagnostic imaging services.
“We are taking a slow and measured approach to resuming surgeries to ensure we can meet the highest priority needs of the community,” Keely Rogers, a spokesperson for Trillium Health Partners (THP) said in an interview with The Pointer.
The approval came after the health network showed it could meet the province's conditions, which includes a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment and the ability to manage any surge of COVID-19 cases, Rogers said.
Mississauga COVID-19 cases as of July 17 with overall Peel institutional cases at the bottom
A second wave of COVID-19 has been predicted by health experts and researchers around the world, as politicians are already bracing for the inevitability.
“There will be a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall, there has not been a pandemic in world history that hasn't seen a second wave,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told The Pointer.
At the start of the pandemic attention was focused on hospitals. As the first wave starts to fade, the threat of a second has focused attention on how an already strained healthcare system will cope with a resurgence of COVID-19, especially with the backlog of procedures that had been postponed and the usual flu season which all could coincide.
The concern has increased as much of the province shifts to Stage 3 of reopening, vastly loosening restrictions, and hospitals resuming elective surgeries. All of this with a potential spike in cases on the horizon.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie believes a second wave is inevitable
There are currently 318 active cases of COVID-19 in Mississauga. Over the past week the city has seen an average of approximately 7 new cases a day, way below averages in April, when there were as many as 50 cases a day over a one-week period.
On Monday, the provincial government announced a number of regions in Ontario will be allowed to move into Stage 3 of reopening starting today — Peel is not one of them — which allows movie theatres, gyms, casinos, live shows, and recreational facilities to open up.
With the steady decline in cases for Mississauga, Mayor Crombie says the city is in good shape to move into Stage 3 in the near future, but expressed concern about the reopening of pubs, bars, restaurants, and larger gatherings. Spikes in COVID-19 have been recorded in several American and European cities, including in Arizona, Michigan, Texas and Florida following the reopening of bars and restaurants.
Any potential spike in new cases that demand hospitalization will eventually fall to THP to handle.
THP is in charge of two Mississauga facilities: Credit Valley Hospital and Mississauga Hospital. Since the start of the pandemic, 71,563 COVID-19 tests have been administered at both hospitals, out of which 2,199 have received a positive diagnosis.
As of July 17, there were eight patients being treated for COVID-19 at THP, two of whom are in critical care. THP has discharged 214 people who have recovered from the virus.
“All of our indicators of respective hospital and healthcare capacity meet the provincial thresholds that were identified,” said Dr Lawrence Loh, the Interim Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. “This basically means we are tracking at a proportion of beds that would (be able to handle) a potential surge.”
This daily COVID-19 case chart for Mississauga shows a decline in recent days and a major drop since April, May and early June
Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott laid out a framework this month for how hospitals can start providing elective surgeries again.
According to the plan, hospitals should not be operating at more than 85 percent capacity before considering the resumption of elective surgeries, the surrounding community must see sustained decline of cases over the past 14 days, the hospital must have a stable supply of PPE and medications, and an adequate capacity of inpatient and ICU beds.
Over the past three week, the City of Mississauga has seen this consistent decline in new cases, falling from 13 cases a day in the last week of June, to 12 per day during the first week of July, and 7 over the last week.
The province also made it clear that while it has given permission to resume elective operations, a second wave of the virus could force hospitals to postpone procedures again.
As people begin to go out more often, it is likely that cases will increase, as seen in trends all over the world. When countries like the United States and India decided to ease lockdown restrictions, cases shot up to some of their highest levels since the onset of the pandemic.
Mayor Crombie feels that as leaders it is the job of elected officials to change behavior and reduce the severity of the second wave, as businesses and residents will be hit even harder if forced to enter lockdown once again.
As hospitals start scheduling elective procedures, which surgeries will happen first depends on the wait time and priority.
The freezing of elective surgeries on March 15 left many patients with serious conditions in limbo.
Adult cancer surgeries were reduced by 34 percent, adult vascular surgeries by 73 percent, and cardiac surgeries by 44 percent between March 16 and April 26, 2020.
THP confirmed two outbreaks on its sites during the pandemic. According to, THP, a number of the staff at Mississauga Hospital’s medicine unit tested positive for COVID-19 between March 26th and April 5.
Now, new and updated figures show significant improvement in both Credit Valley and Mississauga Hospital.
As of July 14, there were 6,650 confirmed and probable cases in Peel and a little over 300 deaths. Over 600 of the cases are in local retirement and long-term care homes and 191 people have already lost their lives after contracting the virus in these settings.
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