By: Mike Anderson

Southlake Regional Health Center will resume elective and scheduled procedures and surgeries after reducing services in March to create the capacity to deal with a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.

The move comes after the Ontario Health Central Region approved the hospital’s first phase of its planned resumption of procedures and surgeries.

But Southlake is still treating new cases of COVID-19 cases in the community, so it must “balance gradually resuming clinical activities and services with a focus on safety and equity,” according to a press release on June 19.

However, as the number of COVID-19 cases decreases, the hospital will have more inpatient capacity and resources to resume procedures.

Southlake’s website is currently reporting no COVID-19 patients in its intensive care unit (ICU) and seven positive patients being cared for in its inpatient unit.

According to the hospital, patients and families are being contacted to reschedule previously cancelled surgeries, procedures or appointments.

“We know that it has been difficult for patients and families who are waiting for surgeries and other care. We are working to safely resume and ask for your patience, as we know, this will be a gradual process,” said Arden Krystal, Southlake President and CEO.

“A shift to virtual care will be part of our new way forward to help safely connect with patients and families and reduce the number of times they need to come into the hospital.”

Southlake says the first phase of the plan is to resume services focusing on outpatients, including those who do not require an overnight hospital stay.

According to the release, safety protocols will remain in place, including a screening and registration process for patients and families, physical distancing, and enhanced discharge processes for patients leaving the hospital.

“This has been a challenging and stressful time, and we are doing everything we can to resume our surgical cases and our clinical activities safely,” said Dr. Julius Toth, Physician Leader of the Surgical Program.

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