ALLISTON, ONT. -- Hospital staff in Alliston tackle the overwhelming backlog of surgeries after the Ontario government gave the green light for non-urgent procedures to resume following a six-week pause.

According to Stevenson Memorial Hospital president and CEO Dr. Jody Levac, hundreds of patients await surgeries.

"We have approximately 500 backlogged cases that we're starting to tackle as of today," Dr. Levac said. "We're anxious to get back and help Ontarians do these needed surgeries so that we don't see [a] progression of these illnesses."

Ontario hospitals were directed to ramp down elective surgeries in April as COVID-19 cases surged and intensive care units saw a record number of patients.

Dr. Mohammad Keshoofy, a surgeon at Stevenson Memorial, said medical offices had been under "tremendous pressure" from patients eager to have their procedures done.

Starting Tuesday, the hospital resumed procedures to ease patient stress and anxiety. "We are anxious to help them out," said Dr. Keshoofy.

Dr. Levac said staff would take a cautious approach to resume surgeries as the province prepares to gradually reopen by mid-June.

Larger hospitals in Orillia and Barrie are dealing with significant surgical backlogs as they continue to admit patient transfers from overburdened GTA hospitals.

Dr. Levac said about 400,000 surgeries were paused across Ontario during the six-week hold.