St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital at Capacity as the Number of COVID-19 Cases in Elgin County Reaches Critical Levels

Published On: November 12, 2021

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is facing a dire situation. The number of COVID-19 cases in Elgin County is increasing at an unprecedented rate; the number of patients requiring critical care at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) is the highest since the start of the pandemic.

“We have reached our capacity to care for critically ill patients and our hospital is operating above capacity – both of which are the direct result of COVID-19. COVID -19 admissions have risen significantly over the course of the week and are expected to continue to rise over the next several weeks. The reality of this means patients will need to be transferred to other hospitals and receiving care outside of the community. This is particularly hard for me to see as a clinician, since all of these infections could have been prevented had the individuals been vaccinated,” says Dr. Waleed Chehadi, Chief of Staff at STEGH.

STEGH is asking the public to help ease the burden on the hospital. “If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please seek medical care early before your symptoms worsen and your condition deteriorates to the point of requiring life sustaining therapy,” says Dr. Chehadi. “While we do not want to discourage anyone from seeking care, please consider if your needs are potentially addressed through other health system supports available to you first, such as your primary care specialist’s office, walk-in clinic, or Ontario Telehealth.”

Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health at Southwestern Public Health says additional public health measures may be required to protect our community and hospital capacity: “One of the indicators we use, when considering further public health measures, is hospital capacity. Our hospital partners are telling us their beds are full. If you are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 this is your rallying cry. There are 154 active cases in the Southwestern Public Health region. We have one of the highest rates of cases per 100,000 people in the province. 64% of these cases are in individuals under the age of 40; most are unvaccinated. Get vaccinated for your own health, for the safety of our workplaces and schools, and to relieve the pressure on the hospital system we all rely on. In addition, I implore you to follow all public health measures. Wear your face covering diligently and avoid close contact, enclosed spaces and crowded places. I also highly recommend you limit your socialization to a small group of close contacts.”

To book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, visit or visit a participating pharmacy. Appointment times are available!

STEGH and Southwestern Public Health would like to thank the health care teams who are working tirelessly around the clock on case and contact management in the community, and to care for the surge of patients in hospital.