Nurses are training to care for critical care patients to adapt to large spikes in patients.
Eighteen more critical care beds have been created with nursing staff training for two weeks to support this move. Sixty staff members are moving to critical care, leaving a gap in their previous positions. The province says staffing is the biggest limitation to critical care capacity. Part of this is due to medical staff getting sick and requiring time off work.
"We are going to have to watch this," Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa says. "It is not exactly cookie-cutter the same as last time.
Siragusa says "it is a little bit different than last time" because staff are immunized and patients are younger.
Since the pandemic, 41 beds have been added to the original 74 critical care beds across the province. As of Thursday morning, 52 people required critical care due to COVID-19. Earlier hospitals admitted 1.3 patients a day with a COVID-19 diagnosis. That has recently moved to five to 10 in a 24-hour period.
The province is preparing for more people to be in the hospital longer with the COVID-19 virus. The third wave has seen younger people, aged 18 to in their 30s, requiring critical hospital care for longer than older patients. This is a large change from two weeks ago, with most ICI patients 40-years-old and older. These ages are still the main group needing this care. Younger people see the extremes, either requiring hospital care or little care outside of medical facilities.
They say younger people are not "automatically" going to survive the virus because of their age.
Hospital patient volumes are reaching the same as peak Wave Two numbers.
"I would say we have learned a lot of important lessons living through Wave Two."
Some patients are receiving care outside of hospitals at Alternative Isolation Accommodations. This program has seen more than 5,500 people at 18 sites across the province.