Local health officials are urging area residents to take the latest ‘stay at home’ order from the province seriously.

Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall says the hospital’s critical care unit is 80% full (8 out of 10 beds,) down from 100% occupancy a week ago. Seven patients are on on a ventilator.

“Of those eight beds, two of them have patients who are COVID positive, one of whom is on a ventilator,” Marshall says. “In our progressive care unit, which is our other 12 beds where the other four ventilators have now been situated, we have one additional COVID positive individual there.”

There are also five patients being treated for the virus in the hospital’s medical COVID unit. Marshall says it’s the largest number of COVID patients CKHA has had since the start of the pandemic.

However, she stresses the ICU isn’t only for COVID patients, but also treating those with heart attacks, stroke, car accidents, and other life-threatening issues. Marshall says along with reducing the spread of COVID-19, the Stay Home order also helps to avoid other incidents that might bring people to the ICU.

Some hospitals that have been overwhelmed are sending patients to regions across Ontario, although Marshall says other than a relatively small transfer from Windsor-Essex last week, that hasn’t happened here yet.

On a positive note, Marshall is thanking CKHA staff who’ve been redeployed within the hospital to help meet the need.

“To be told you’re going to go work somewhere else, get acclimatized to that area, I want to thank the staff that have been redeployed. They’ve been terrific and positive, they’re helping out, they’re getting additional computer training for that area, just doing a really good job.”