Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital put out a call for community support last Thursday as hospitals have been facing “an unprecedented level of pressure”.

That morning, the hospital’s occupancy dashboard showed 11 patients had been waiting on a stretcher in the emergency department to be admitted to an inpatient unit. By Friday afternoon that number had fallen to nine.

Grand River Hospital, as well as other hospitals across the province, are dealing with more staff shortages and overwhelmed waiting rooms due to Omicron. 

According to Robert Crossan, the regional paramedic services deputy chief, there were 11 code reds reported in December, meaning there were no ambulances available to respond to emergency calls. This is more than double the number from December.

Last week, Grand River Hospital also noted that between their two campuses — KW and Freeport—only one bed was available out of 660.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve added 146 additional beds and today, all but one—a remaining bed in our critical care — is filled,” Ron Gagnon, president of the Grand River Hospital, said.

The Waterloo Region District School Board has warned parents that there may be bus shortages over the next weeks with possible staff shortages due to COVID-19.

Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) will be canceling several routes between Jan. 25 to Feb. 18. While those routes have not been named, the cancellation would be communicated to students and families.

As of Jan. 26, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 37,286 total cases of COVID-19, and approximately 2,374 cases are considered active. There have been 339 COVID-related deaths in the region, including 5 new deaths reported on Monday.