Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Minister of Health, says the provincial government is working to address a backlog in surgeries once the third wave of the pandemic clears up. 

“We have been working on the issue of backlog surgeries since the beginning of the pandemic and we were able to do a number of those surgeries between the second and third wave,” Elliott told the Vista National News Desk. 

A ramp-down of elective surgeries across all Ontario hospitals has been ordered to free up space for a rising number of COVID-19 patients. 

Elliott says the government is spending $500 million to address the backlog of surgeries, which will include having operating rooms open on evenings and weekends, and regional waiting lists. 

“We need to use our resources more wisely,” Elliott said. “If one hospital has space for a particular type of surgery, say a hip replacement, and one hospital is full, then the surgeon and the patient can go to another hospital to have that done.”

Elliott says the surgery backlog will be top of mind for the government once COVID-19 hospitalizations decline.

“We know that we really need to put an emphasis on this because many people have been waiting a very long time for their surgeries,” she said. 

As of Friday, 2,201 people are in hospital being treated for COVID-19, with 883 in intensive care.