More children’s surgeries postponed in Winnipeg amid ongoing surge in hospital admissions

Manitoba health officials say 19 children’s surgeries have had to be postponed in just under a month due to an ongoing surge in hospitalizations at the children’s hospital in Winnipeg.

Shared Health says two pediatric elective surgeries were postponed in the past week, and another eight to 10 elective cases that would normally have gone ahead weren’t scheduled as the children’s hospital  continues with a plan announced in mid-December that’s seen staff moved to deal with an RSV-related influx of patients due.

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In a release Wednesday Shared Health said patient numbers at Health Sciences Centre remain high, with 17 pediatric patients in the hospital’s pediatric ICU (PICU) as of Wednesday morning.

The hospital’s PICU has normal baseline capacity of nine patients.

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Click to play video: 'Influenza hits Manitoba family hard in harrowing experience'

Influenza hits Manitoba family hard in harrowing experience

“A majority of pediatric patients this morning were very young children – several no more than a few months of age – experiencing respiratory symptoms,” Shared Health said in a statement.

There were 45 children’ in the hospital’s neonatal ICU, five beds short of capacity, as of Wednesday morning.

Shared Health said 28 pediatric patients — all infants and toddlers — were admitted to hospital last week, including two who needed intensive care.

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Officials say while influenza A cases may have peaked in Manitoba, RSV-related illness continues to surge.

In December, officials said 119 children were admitted to hospital with RSV-related illness, that’s up from 78 in November and 23 in October.

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Eighteen pediatric patients were admitted to HSC Children’s in the first six days of January, Shared Health said.

Click to play video: 'Elective surgeries postponed at Winnipeg’s children’s hospital as patient surge continues'

Elective surgeries postponed at Winnipeg’s children’s hospital as patient surge continues

Meanwhile ,officials said patient volumes at the children’s emergency room have fallen somewhat.

Shared Health said the children’s ER is averaging 124.3 patients per day so far in January, down from the December average of 130.1 and down from 170.3 in November.

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Parents are being encouraged to keep their kids away from anyone with cold-like symptoms.

“Children younger than two years of age are most at risk of contracting severe RSV,” officials said in Shared Health’s release.

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Click to play video: 'Winnipeg children’s hospital still hit hard by respiratory viruses, officials say'

Winnipeg children’s hospital still hit hard by respiratory viruses, officials say

“The likelihood of getting sick is directly related to the number of personal interactions, including those between young children and people who may not know or acknowledge that they may be unwell (and who may be looking to hold and kiss the baby).”

Health officials are continuing to “strongly encourage” Manitobans to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19.

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They’re also reminding Manitobans to stay home when sick, wash their hands regularly, and wear masks when out in large crowds.

More information about vaccines, including a list of places where shots are available, can be found on the province’s website.

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