Hospital services

Hospital services return to normal as third wave subsides

After two months of reduced services due to the third wave of the pandemic, hospitals in Nova Scotia are returning to a semblance of normalcy.

“We feel like we’re in a better position, trying to be a little bit careful and assess the epidemiology and how we can reintroduce the services, but we’re pretty confident we’re in a good position. this week to resume those services… to pre-wave levels, ”Brett MacDougall, executive director of operations for the eastern area of ​​the provincial health authority, told CBC. Cape Breton Morning Information.

Hospitals began cutting services across Nova Scotia in late April. This included surgeries, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation services, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory services. The changes were intended to free up beds and other resources to care for critically ill patients and support screening efforts.

Some hospitals performed mostly elective surgeries that would not require hospitalization, but continued to provide emergency care and urgent cancer services.

As of last week, surgeries at the QEII Health Sciences Center in Halifax have remained at 80 percent of capacity. At the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, surgical admissions have returned to their normal capacity – between eight and 12 planned surgeries per day. Northside Hospital in North Sydney is re-authorizing surgeries.

“In addition, we have also reintroduced all of our lab collection capacity so that people can once again access routine blood drives as well as other types of testing that we may have suspended while we were trying. to handle COVID testing, ”MacDougall said.

Surgery numbers

According to the provincial health authority, in-person support for mental health and addictions is starting to increase, but those receiving care can virtually continue to do so if they prefer.

Although there are more cases of COVID-19 in the third wave than in the first wave, services were not as affected by the restrictions as in 2020.

More than 29,600 surgeries were performed between January 1 and May 26. During the same period in 2020, around 20,100 surgeries were performed.

The diagnoses were also less affected. In 2020, diagnostic imaging services were cut to 24%, while in Wave 3, volumes briefly dropped to 80%, but hovered around 100%.

At the height of the third wave, more than 100 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital and about 25 of them ended up in intensive care.