Elective procedures in Carman, Brandon postponed to free up capacity ahead of holiday COVID-19 surge

Provincial health officials are postponing elective and non-urgent medical procedures at health centres across southern Manitoba in order to free up staff for an anticipated holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Ed Buchel, provincial medical specialty lead for surgery with Shared Health, announced the rural phase of the province’s surgical prioritization strategy in a news conference on Monday.

“With the holidays that are approaching and gatherings that are expected to happen, we expect COVID cases to rise substantially,” Buchel said.

“We have to plan to maintain our COVID capacity in our rural areas, specifically at Boundary Trails and at Brandon.”

Starting later this week and continuing through the remainder of December and January, all surgeries at the Carman Memorial Hospital will be postponed to allow Boundary Trails Health Centre in Winkler to increase its capacity for COVID-19 patients.

At the Brandon Regional Health Centre, all elective endoscopies will be postponed to allow staff to support the intensive care unit.

Shared Health announced Sunday it is postponing all non-urgent and elective surgeries at acute care surgical sites in Winnipeg — Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital.

Anyone whose procedures have been postponed will be informed, Buchel said.

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