Paramedics arrive to pick up a patient at Verdun hospital Tuesday, January 12, 2021 in Montreal.  Quebec City's main hospital network, called CHU de Québec-Université Laval, says it will reduce by half its surgeries and medical appointments starting Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Major Quebec hospital postpones half of surgeries, appointments due to COVID-19 spike

MONTREAL — Quebec City’s main hospital network says it will postpone half of its surgeries and medical appointments starting Wednesday.

The announcement from CHU de Québec-Université Laval comes as the province faces a spike in COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 1,231 people hospitalized with the virus as of Sunday.

The hospital network is also reporting 10 of the 16 intensive care beds reserved for COVID-19 were occupied today.

Hospital CEO Martin Beaumont says only 27 of the 48 surgical rooms will be available this week in order to transfer staff to COVID-19 patients’ care instead.

He told a Sunday press conference that as many as 10,000 medical appointments could be delayed, allowing roughly 50 nurses to also be redirected to the pandemic’s ward.

The hospital network says 783 health-care workers are in isolation, in addition to the 600 nurses already missing from the workforce before the pandemic’s fifth wave hit.