Hospitals in Greater Montreal are so overloaded that a patient with COVID-19 has been transferred as far away as Gatineau, thus sowing concern among the population and health professionals in the region about the the shortage of personnel in the Outaouais.
Although less than half of the available beds are currently occupied in the COVID unit at Hull Hospital (22 out of 45), several stakeholders fear a jump in hospitalizations given the upward trend in the number of cases since mid-December, not to mention the repercussions of the holiday season, which have not yet all manifested themselves on the regional balance sheet.
“We are caught between the tree and the bark. It is certainly difficult to be against [ces transferts], but we are already short of people, we are out of breath and we are asked to squeeze the lemon even more, ”argues the president of the Union of healthcare professionals of the Outaouais, Patrick Guay.
The president of the citizen group Action Santé Outaouais, Denis Marcheterre, agrees.
“It is in the medium term that the situation is more worrying, because the pressure is likely to be stronger and stronger. How will we be able to meet the demand for human resources? For me, the mystery remains complete, ”he wonders.
The director of professional services of the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSSO), Dr. Nicolas Gillot, tried to be reassuring Wednesday afternoon during a press conference.
“If the number of cases increases, we can quickly increase the capacity of the COVID unit to 60 beds or even more,” he said at the outset. “We are here in the presence of an effort to provincial solidarity that goes beyond simple regional issues, ”added the doctor.
The fact remains that, in addition to a shortage of long-standing personnel, 86 employees of the health network are currently suffering from COVID-19 in the Outaouais. In addition, a third of physicians are assigned to tasks outside their usual scope of activity.