Like many in Ontario, Muskoka’s two hospitals are still facing staff shortages.
That’s according to Vickie Kaminski, Interim President and CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC).
Kaminski says four staff members are suspended pending vaccination, and 10 are currently at home recovering from COVID-19.
According to Kaminski, MAHC is currently at about five to six per cent vacancy across the organisation, and is hiring for 48 positions, having hired 109 new staff in 2021. The postings include registered nurses, people with ICU experience, respiratory therapists, and more.
The Huntsville Hospital is currently at 112 per cent capacity, and the South Muskoka Hospital at 122 per cent, according to Kaminski. She says that’s normal for this time of year, typically because of the flu, and that the organisation tends to hover around 100 per cent throughout the year.
However, she says high occupancy, combined with the staffing shortage, has people stretched thin. She says staff do their best to make sure it never impacts the patients.
“We have remarkable staff, that’s what keeps us going,” says Kaminski. “The staff have pitched in, they’ve worked overtime, done extra shifts, changed their schedules, helped out where we needed them. It really has been quite something.”
She adds that MAHC has an arrangement to transfer patients to partner hospitals in Orillia and Barrie if Muskoka’s capacity is overwhelmed.
“It has been tight, and it’s been tense, but we have managed and we continue to manage, and it’s really because of the staff,” says Kaminski.
Kaminski also says MAHC officials are starting discussions on a “slow ramp-up” of non-urgent services, with outpatient surgeries at the top of the list.