OTTAWA -- There is growing concern about rising hospitalizations and ICU admissions in Ottawa and across the province.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Ontario, hospital admissions are also climbing to record levels.

“The situation is discouraging and we don’t seem to learn, over and over again the same pattern repeats itself. Every time the cases go up, the hospitalizations will go up. It’s inevitable,” said Dr. Ronald St. John, former federal manager to the SARS response in Canada.

“We’re seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions, we’re preparing essentially for the worst,” added Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, critical care and palliative care doctor in Ottawa.

According to Ottawa Public Health, there are currently 81 people in hospital due to the virus and 26 in ICU — this as OPH reported a record number of cases Sunday.

“It’s our duty to be ready for if the numbers surge,” said Dr. Kyeremanteng, who added that it's an "all-hands-on-deck" situation right now.

The province reported Sunday that 1,513 people are in hospital due to COVID-19; 605 of them are in ICU and 382 are on a ventilator.

"Unless things start changing, they will probably have to start triaging people and choosing who gets to be on the ventilator or not, which is a tragedy," said Dr. Anna Banerji, infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto.

Province issues emergency orders to help hospitals manage

Starting Monday, hospitals in Ontario will be allowed to transfer patients to another hospital without consent in emergencies. Healthcare workers currently working in home- and community-care can also be redeployed to hospitals.

“It seems prudent to be able to make arrangements to even out the load, so to speak, between hospitals so that the greater number of people can receive care,” said Dr. St. John.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital said: “Some hospitals in the region, including The Ottawa Hospital, have started taking patients from other areas of the province, such as the Greater Toronto Area. We are still in the process of determining how many patients the region will receive and which hospitals they will go to.”

The province is also cancelling elective surgeries, as hospitals do all they can to maximize ICU capacity.

“We’re just going to do our part, were going to do our part to ensure the safety and positive outcomes of our COVID patients. We’re ready; we’re tired, but we’re ready,” said Dr. Kyeremanteng.

According to Ottawa Public Health, 98 per cent of all acute hospital beds across the city, including 76 per cent of ICU beds and 38 per cent of ventilator beds, were occupied as of April 7.