TOLEDO, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story said that Ebeid Children's Hospital would only be performing time-sensitive emergent surgeries. However, a ProMedica spokesperson later clarified that the children's hospital is not delaying essential elective surgeries at this time.
Northwest Ohio hospitals are beginning to postpone elective surgeries as they continue to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, representatives from both the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) and ProMedica announced the temporary suspension of all non-emergent procedures at their facilities.
For UTMC, the change will last until at least Friday, Jan. 14. Patients will be notified if their scheduled procedure is impacted.
In a press release, UTMC leadership said the move will allow them to devote their resources to caring for their most critically ill patients, including those with COVID-19.
UTMC's full statement reads:
"In response to a sharp increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 and other serious illnesses, The University of Toledo Medical Center has temporarily suspended all non-emergent procedures through at least Friday, Jan. 14.
This measure will allow UTMC to devote its resources to caring for the most critically ill patients, including those with COVID-19. Patients will be notified directly if their procedure is being postponed.
UTMC will continue to perform emergency procedures.
A key reason for this decision is a significant increase in COVID-19 patients with the highly contagious omicron and delta variants requiring hospitalization, the majority of whom are unvaccinated.
UTMC is urging those who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster to make an appointment as soon as possible. UTMC has appointments available through the state of Ohio’s online scheduling portal.
We will continue to regularly evaluate our plans for elective procedures."
For ProMedica, no end date has been announced.
Representatives said starting Monday, ProMedica will only perform time-sensitive emergent surgeries at Toledo Hospital, Flower Hospital and Bay Park.
Ebeid Children's Hospital is not delaying essential elective surgeries at this time.
Additionally, the sleep labs at both Flower and Bay Park will be closed as well as some off-site lab draw locations.
In an email to employees, ProMedica leadership wrote:
"As we work to manage the current situation and anticipate the impending demands of this surge, further action is needed to ensure we are able to meet the needs of all patients who require inpatient care. In this capacity, we wanted to make you aware that we have made the decision to move to the next phase of our surge plans..."
ProMedica also announced Monday that its facilities are working under a contingency-level staffing plan. Staff are now able to return to work five days after COVID-19 symptom onset if at that point they are asymptomatic, wear a mask and socially distance.
Hospitals across Ohio are battling record numbers of patients with COVID-19.
The state reported 18,042 new cases of the virus on Monday, with a total of 6,747 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across Ohio— that's the most since the pandemic began, and an increase of 192 hospitalizations over the last 24 hours.