Posted: February 8, 2022

Waterloo Region & Wellington County | February 8, 2022

Click here to read the Waterloo Wellington COVID Report for Tuesday, February 8, 2022 that local hospitals have committed to jointly providing on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Strong vaccination rates and continued adherence to public health measures locally have resulted in the decline of COVID-19 cases in hospitals. However, Omicron continues to have an impact on both patients and staff, and patients that are in our care often remain very sick requiring longer stays.

To allow for staff and resources to be redeployed to care for record-high numbers of critically ill patients throughout the pandemic, non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries and procedures were postponed or cancelled. Wait lists for surgical procedures were a challenge prior to the pandemic but have climbed throughout each wave. Across Waterloo Wellington, 15,937 patients are currently waiting for surgeries or procedures, of those over 56% are cataract patients. Broken down across hospitals, the backlogged cases are as follows (and do not include endoscopy procedures):

  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital - 1,922 (1,337 are cataract day-surgery patients)
  • Grand River Hospital - 2,254
  • Groves Memorial Community Hospital – 176
  • Guelph General Hospital - 4,095 (2,400 are cataract day-surgery patients)
  • St. Mary’s General Hospital - 7,490 (5,286 are cataract day-surgery patients)

“We appreciate how difficult these surgical ramp down periods are for patients who are waiting,” says Melissa Skinner, VP Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive, Guelph General Hospital. “We welcomed last week’s announcement by the province which outlined a plan to phase in gradual increases. At GGH, cancer screening, some diagnostic procedures and some ambulatory care clinics resumed this week. We hope this is just the beginning and that over the next several weeks we will be able to gradually restart more and more. I can appreciate this may not feel soon enough for those patients and their family members who have been waiting so long. Our focus is moving ahead, carefully but with purpose. Our hope is to not only ramp up but do all the we can to plan to address the significant back log as well.”

“We do know that patients who are waiting for surgeries and procedures are very anxious to receive care, and this certainly weighs heavy on our minds,” says Lee Fairclough, Regional Hospital Lead for COVID response and President, St. Mary’s General Hospital. “Patients are sharing their frustrations with us, and many are fearful or angry at the current circumstances. So many sacrifices have been made throughout the pandemic by everyone—ones that continue to be made. Regional hospitals are doing everything we can to prepare for the gradual ramp up of surgeries and procedures across our hospitals. We are working very hard to bring patients back in for care, as quickly and as safely as we can.”

More Information:

Stephan Beckhoff

Manager, Public Affairs & Communications

Cambridge Memorial Hospital

t: 519-621-2333 ext. 2427

m: 519-654-8334

Cheryl Evans

Manager, Communications and


Grand River Hospital

t: 519-749-4300 ext. 3880

m: 226-749-0689

Alison Armstrong

Manager, Communications and

Stakeholder Relations

Wellington Health Care Alliance

Groves Memorial Community Hospital

North Wellington Health Care

519-843-2010 ext. 47614

Perry Hagerman

Senior Communications Specialist

Guelph General Hospital

519-837-6440 ext. 2774

Dayna Giorgio

Manager, Communications

St. Mary’s General Hospital