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January 11, 2024

Update on hospital capacity – January 11, 2024

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.

Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) adult acute care sites are under extreme pressure – this includes the Hamilton General Hospital (HGH), Juravinski Hospital (JH) and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH). We are seeing a high volume of sicker people in our EDs due to the viral season. At the same time, staff absences due to illness are posing a challenge to meeting the needs of this increased volume of patients.


  • HHS is experiencing an increase in the number of patients needing hospital-based care.
    • Adult acute occupancy across all HHS sites is consistently > 100%.
    • Unprecedented capacity pressures (reaching 134% this week) at the WLMH site.
    • This week, the JH reached a high point of over 500 patients admitted at the site at one time, which has a total of 414 funded beds.
      • This means that the number of patients needing care exceeds the number of beds available and some patients are receiving care in surge spaces and non-traditional locations, such as hallways.
    • Where necessary, non-urgent scheduled surgeries and procedures are being deferred in order to prioritize the use of available beds based on need. This week, nine surgical cases were deferred.
    • While the situation improved at McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) over the past few weeks, we are once again starting to see an increase in visits to the MCH ED as children and youth return to school.
    • Peter’s Hospital and the Satellite Health Facility are also both at maximum capacity.

How we’re responding

  • Expanding the use of unfunded, contingency, and surge beds across sites.
  • Augmenting staffing resources when able.
  • Expediting patient discharges, where appropriate, in partnership with Home and Community Care.
  • Offering virtual and remote care options, where appropriate, to help patients manage their health at home and avoid ED visits.


  • 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 – January 11

Funded Occupancy Rates:
Hamilton General Hospital 106%
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre 110%
McMaster Children’s Hospital 103%
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital 124%
ALC Patient Occupancy 270
COVID+ Patients 116
COVID+ Patients in ICU 6
RSV Patients 30
RSV Patients in ICU Less than 5
Influenza Patients 75
Active COVID Outbreaks 4