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McMaster Children's Hospital emergency department entrance
November 23, 2023

Weekly update on hospital capacity – November 23, 2023

Hamilton’s healthcare partners are asking for the community’s help in preventing the spread of respiratory illness this fall/winter season and preserving access to the city’s urgent care and emergency resources for those who need them most.

As part of this effort, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) will be sharing weekly updates about hospital capacity, and links to stories/health tips to support our community this fall/winter season.

All HHS sites, including our emergency departments (EDs) continue to be under significant pressure.

NEW this week:

  • Visits to the Emergency Department at our McMaster Children’s Hospital have been steadily increasing and we are seeing more children and youth with symptoms of viral illness.
    • As of November 20, there were 27 pediatric patients admitted with flu/RSV/COVID. This is up from 23 patients last week.
    • Of the 27 patients, 17 have RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).
  • Message from MCH ED physician Dr. Nathalie Schindler: “Our children’s emergency department is getting busier than usual. Every fall and winter, we see a rise in emergency department visits for respiratory illnesses. We’re seeing a lot more children with cough, fever and trouble breathing. This is the time for children and families to get their flu and COVID vaccines to decrease the risk of severe illness.”

Reminder about visitor guidelines:

  • Masking is strongly recommended when in the following areas at all of our hospitals: inpatient units, outpatient clinics, emergency departments, and procedural and diagnostic areas. Masks are available at hospital entrances.
  • Please do not visit if you feel unwell or have symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, or a new rash.
  • Your visit may be interrupted to provide patient care. We ask that when care is being provided by the care team that you wait until they are finished to visit.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially after eating, coughing, sneezing and using the washroom.
  • Hamilton Health Sciences has provided hand sanitizer for visitor use throughout our hospitals. Please use this often during your visit. Remember to make sure your hands are dry after applying the sanitizer before you touch anything.

Other items of note:

  • The Hamilton General Hospital remains on redirect for non-regional critical care to ensure that level-3 critical care capacity remains available for those requiring specialized care in our regional programs such cardac, stroke, burns , neuro and trauma.
  • Where necessary, some scheduled care is being deferred to lessen the pressure on patient flow and ensure HHS can fulfil its regional and critical care mandate.
  • All HHS sites, including the Satellite Health Facility (operated in partnership with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton) and McMaster Children’s Hospital, are routinely at 100% occupancy or higher.

We’re grateful to everyone for their patience when seeking care in our EDs and when attending appointments in our hospitals. Thank you to our staff and physicians as well for their endless efforts to meet the needs of all patients.


Hospital activity – November 23

Funded Occupancy Rates:
Hamilton General Hospital 98%
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre 110%
McMaster Children’s Hospital 95%
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital 129%
ALC Patient Occupancy 259
COVID+ Patients 94
COVID+ Patients in ICU Less than 5
Active COVID Outbreaks 2