Windsor.Regional.Hospital has reached an agreement with St. Clair College to transform the school’s SportsPlex - a stand-alone athletic facility on the main campus - into a field hospital for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement provides WRH with the additional space it needs to accommodate in case there is a surge of patients with COVID-19.
Through a phased-in approach over the next week, the team will transform the building into an offsite hospital with the capacity to treat up to 100 low acuity patients in the recovery phase of their treatments, including patients recovering from the virus.
"We are preparing for the expected patient influx and creating capacity for Windsor-Essex. This will help address challenges for hospitals across the province" said David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital. "Best case scenario is we do not need to move any patients to the St. Clair College site, but we have to be ready for the worst."
Local hospitals, with support from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, have already increased capacity within the system. Windsor Regional Hospital currently has created capacity at its two acute care campuses of approximately 250 beds as a result of a low census, through the "pausing" of scheduled surgeries, the support of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and the region. In addition, WRH has created 109 more beds across both campuses by turning various rooms into patient rooms on each floor of each site. WRH went from 27 negative pressure rooms to 58 and 49 Level 3 ICU beds to 83. In total, as of today on its two campuses, WRH has approximately 350 additional patient spaces that are currently vacant.
St. Clair College President Patti France said the college was "honoured" to assist Windsor Regional Hospital in its "heroic battle" against this devastating virus. "Our students and staff have been using the SportsPlex to foster their health for the past half-decade, so it is a natural transition for the community to use it now to restore its health," France said. "We will continue to respond immediately and enthusiastically to anything asked of the college while this challenge confronts our community."
Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Andy Stewart, who has 38 years of experience with the British Army and is now a Major in the Canadian Armed Forces, assisted the hospital in selecting a suitable location for the field hospital. Acting as a civilian, Stewart, who worked in Germany during the Cold War and later in the UK during the fight against Foot and Mouth Disease, lent his expertise to the search.
"I want to indicate to our community that Windsor is in good hands, with this group of very professional and dedicated specialists. It was an honour and a privilege to help albeit in a small way to establish additional hospital capacity for Windsor and Essex County. Hopefully, it will not be required" he said.
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