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Province to resume non-urgent and non-emergency surgeries and procedures

Last Updated May 19, 2021 at 10:53 am EDT

A man walks into the main entrance to St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THECANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn THECANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The province of Ontario says it is revoking its halt on non-urgent and non-emergency surgeries and procedures “effective today” citing a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

The pause, which was initiated on April 20, required health care providers to temporarily cease non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in hospitals and community settings.

“At this point in time, new cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions appear to be trending downward,” a Ministry of Health release states. “As such … non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries and procedures may be gradually resumed by health care providers and health care entities who were subject to that Directive.”

“As we gradually and cautiously resume non-urgent and non-emergent care, we will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and critical care capacity and will respond rapidly should we see a worsening of the situation.

“We will work with our health system partners to take the necessary measures where needed to ensure all Ontarians continue to have access to critical health care services.”

RELATED: Ontario faces backlog of more than 300,000 breast cancer mammograms

A CityNews investigation revealed a startling backlog of more than 300,000 breast cancer mammograms in Ontario with an immediate 60 per cent drop in all cancer surgeries at the beginning of the pandemic.

While that number recovered somewhat by June 2020, there were still nearly 36,000 fewer cancer surgeries performed in the province in that time, according to a study by a Sunnybrook Hospital researcher.

There is a backlog of more than 257,000 surgeries of all types in the province and the Ontario government has budgeted $300 million in 2021-2022 to help clear that backlog, part of a $600-million multi-year investment.

With files from Jessica Bruno and Maleeha Sheikh