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December 14, 2023

Update on hospital capacity – December 14, 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) is sharing regular updates about hospital capacity, and links to stories/health tips to support our community this fall/winter season.

We want to thank everyone for their ongoing patience as our staff and physicians work hard to care for all patients. All HHS sites, including our adult and pediatric emergency departments (EDs) are under significant pressure.

NEW this week:

  • Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), like many other hospitals in Ontario, is experiencing an increase in the number of patients being admitted for care.
    • On some wards, the number of patients needing care exceeds the number of beds available. This means that some patients may receive care in non-traditional locations, such as hallways.
    • Patients may also be relocated to another HHS site or another hospital.
    • In the last week we had an average of 60 patients/day waiting in our adult EDs for an inpatient bed, at one point reaching a daily high of 77. November saw a daily average of 50 patients/day; therefore, we are seeing a 20 per cent increase in patients per day.
  • Visits to the MCH ED are increasing and we are seeing more children and youth with symptoms of viral illness.
    • ED visits have increased by 31 per cent since September (from an average of 125/day in September to 164/day in December). This month’s high so far is 189 visits/day.
    • As of December 11, there are 33 pediatric patients admitted with flu/RSV/COVID. This is up from 27 patients on November 20. Of the 33 patients, 18 have RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).


  • Not all kids with respiratory illnesses need to go the emergency department. Unless your child is experiencing serious symptoms, talk to your family doctor or visit an urgent care centre. Please see the HHS health tips article.
  • Now’s a good time get your COVID and flu vaccinations.
  • Masking is strongly recommended for all visitors in all HHS buildings. Individuals should not visit patients if they feel unwell or have symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, or a new rash.


Hospital activity – December 14

Funded Occupancy Rates:
Hamilton General Hospital 105%
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre 110%
McMaster Children’s Hospital 97%
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital 126%
ALC Patient Occupancy 246
COVID+ Patients 100
COVID+ Patients in ICU 7
Active COVID Outbreaks 1