Province to begin ramping up surgical activity based on clinical priority: Shared Health

By | May 7, 2020

WINNIPEG — The province will begin ramping surgical activities in Manitoba once again, after cutting activities due to the pandemic.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer with Shared Health said the province is working to develop procedures that would allow care to continue in the ‘new normal.’

She said over the past eight weeks, Shared Health has limited surgeries, procedures, diagnostic and lab activities. Urgent, emergent, and trauma cases continue to be performed, which include cardiac, trauma, and cancer cases, as well as other urgent types of procedures.

“The decision to limit that activity at that time was the right decision to make as we were making every effort to limit the spread of the virus, but there obviously is an impact and it is significant,” Siragusa said.

She said across the province from March 23 to the end of April, approximately 3,000 surgeries were completed. This represents about one-third of the surgeries that would normally be completed during this time, Siragusa said.

She said there has been a similar impact on diagnostics, which includes the postponement of ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans for non-urgent situations.

“Just because these are not urgent situations does not mean they are not necessary situations,” Siragusa said.

She said across the province, clinical activity is being carefully ramped up. Patients will begin to be scheduled according to clinical priority, and additional operating days will be at most sites in all regions. These extra operating days will be based on need, priority, staffing, and available PPE.

She said surgery and medicine beds will once again be used for their intended purposes, not as COVID-19 beds.

If there is another surge in COVID-19 patients, she said it would only be a matter of days before they would be able to free up the surgical beds.

“We are very confident in our ability to adapt quickly to a change in demand in response to the virus,” Siragusa said, adding they will be monitoring the situation closely.

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