OTTAWA -- The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is preparing to accept transfers of adult patients requiring critical care as local hospitals see record numbers of COVID-19 patients.

"Ottawa’s adult hospitals have already admitted record numbers of COVID-19 patients and admissions continue to climb. If patients need to be transferred out of those hospitals, it is preferable for them to be able to stay in Ottawa and not have to be transferred elsewhere in the province or country," CHEO said in a statement on its website Tuesday.

CHEO says it has been running "at or near full capacity" since the winter but has been developing a plan to go beyond surge capacity in order to open up intensive care beds for adults approximately 40 and younger.

"This plan enables CHEO to surge beyond its seven-bed ICU capacity to 12 beds, while minimizing the impact of this critical care activity on our mission to provide pediatric services," the hospital said. "Children and youth will continue to be our priority for admissions."

The emergency department at CHEO remains limited to patients under 18.

“This is unprecedented in CHEO’s 47-year history and reflects how serious the third wave of the pandemic is,” said Alex Munter, CEO and President of CHEO, in a statement. “We need to do everything we can to stop the uncontrolled spread that is making so many people ill.”

As of Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health said there are 95 COVID-19 patients in Ottawa hospitals, including 30 in intensive care. Nine of those patients are between the between the ages of 20 and 39 and three are in ICU.