** Flu cases overwhelming New York ambulances, hospitals in Syracuse
** Dramatic upswing in flu patients in Windsor, Ontario prompts ambulance service to enact surge protocols
UNITED STATES NEWS
** The winter flu epidemic in Syracuse, New York is swamping ERs, forcing them to turn away ambulances. That is the word from the Associated Press (January 22) which said temporary diversions have already been put in place for 117 hours between New Year’s Day and January 21st. According to the news service, the same period last year saw diversions instituted for only 13 hours. Hospital Executive Council executive director Ron Lagoe said along with flu cases overwhelming emergency departments, a lack of nursing home beds is also adding to the crunch.
** In a related story, a surge in flu patients in Windsor, Ontario earlier this week saw some Monday night offload delays reach the eleven hours mark. The CBC (January 23) quoted Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter as saying the strain has prompted his organization to enact surge protocols. According to the news service, more ambulances are being put on the road, as needed, and medics are transporting less urgent cases to Leamington for treatment. Paramedics are also triaging patients. Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said the hospital’s Met campus was at 118 per cent capacity by Tuesday morning, while 74 patients were waiting in the emergency room.