Fun Fact: Statistically Muskoka lacks medical capacity for influx of cottagers during COVID-19

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Muskoka Post Staff

As the May long weekend approaches the Muskoka discussion regarding cottagers travelling to their secondary residences heats up as the COVID-19 emergency response continues. In the midst of this debate is a statistical fun fact regarding Muskoka‘s medical capacity vs that of larger cities.

Ontario’s public health recommendation to remain at primary residences and not travel to the cottage is because generally cottage properties are located in smaller communities with limited resources. Should Covid-19 spread within these rural Muskoka communities the districts health care system would become overwhelmed and pushed to capacity at a much faster rate than that of a larger urban hospital.

Statistics and numbers are a fun fact when taking into consideration that in April Anand Doobay, chief of medicine at Markham-Stouffville Hospital, said the hospital is staffed to manage an ICU unit of 15 patients and the challenge for him is looking at how to staff a unit that suddenly has 45 or 50 patients. This is an equally good question for Muskoka who according to Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare CEO Natalie Bubela has 9 ICU beds across not one hospital but two.

Bubela did note that “at this time, because of pre-emptive work to reduce non-essential services in line with Ministry direction, our capacity is at a good level to react to a potential surge or influx in the need for acute care.”

But as we continue to fact check Ontario numbers we found that according to an April CBC report the province has roughly a dozen ventilators per 100,000 people but the problem during COVID-19 is that 80 per cent of ventilator capacity is taken up by emergency hospitalizations unrelated to COVID-19. As a result bringing the actual capacity for COVID-19 patients in Ontario closer to two to three ventilators for 100,000 people. Thus bringing the capacity number down further per each Muskoka hospital.

During the COVID-19 crisis Katherine Craine, of the Hunstville Hospital Foundation said that across both Muskoka hospital sites there is capacity to ventilate up to 21 patients. Let’s compare that number to the 156 ventilators available in the London region.

Fun Fact: Muskoka does not have the medical capacity to handle the potential influx of population during a community spread pandemic. Please follow public health recommendations and remain at your primary residence until advised differently.

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