Ontario has issued two emergency orders in an effort to boost hospital capacity during the pandemic’s third wave. 

The move comes in response to recent rapid rises in hospitalizations, ICU admissions and the threat to critical care capacity.

The temporary emergency orders support the redeployment of health care professionals and other workers in Ontario Health and Home and Community Care Support Services organizations to hospitals.

They will also provide hospitals with the flexibility to transfer patients to alternate hospital sites in situations where resources are at significant and immediate risk of becoming overwhelmed.

These orders, along with additional measures being taken, are expected to increase intensive care capacity in the province by up to 1,000 patient beds.   

Effective immediately Home and Community Care Support Services (CCSS) organizations and Ontario Health will be provided with the authority to deploy care coordinators, nurses, and others, to work in team-based models in hospitals or other CCSS organizations that are experiencing capacity pressures.

In addition, during major surge events where the demand for critical care threatens to overwhelm a hospital, Ontario now allows hospitals to transfer patients to alternate hospital sites without obtaining the consent of the patient or, where the patient is incapable, their substitute decision-maker.

As soon as possible following the conclusion of the major surge event, the alternate hospital site would be required to make reasonable efforts to transfer the patient back to the original hospital site or to another suitable care location which is consented to by the patient or substitute decision-maker.

These orders take effect today (Friday) and remain valid for two weeks unless revoked or extended by the province.