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Field hospital being built at RVH in Barrie, Ont., to prepare for second wave of coronavirus

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A field hospital is being built in the parking lot of Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie, Ont., in order to prepare for a second wave of coronavirus cases in the region.

The regional pandemic response unit will be a temporary department comprised of about 70 beds.

READ MORE: Only 2 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka, bringing local total to 261, 15 deaths

“Strict public health measures have successfully suppressed COVID-19 in Ontario, and while the first wave of the pandemic may have peaked, we know the virus is still very present in our community, and a spike could develop at any time,” Janice Skot, RVH’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“The regional pandemic response unit will ensure we are prepared for a second wave of cases in Simcoe Muskoka and will provide insurance in the face of a very uncertain future.”

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The 8,250-square-foot modular field hospital will be professionally staffed and located in the volunteer/visitor parking lot outside of RVH’s Simcoe entrance.

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RVH says it will be constructed with modular walls for privacy and headwalls with suction and oxygen. According to the Barrie hospital, there will also be a call bell system, inter-professional stations and bathrooms.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Barrie offers free phone programs to seniors

“Having the pandemic response unit at RVH will ensure limited bed capacity is not a barrier if patients in the region require hospital care,” Charlotte Wallis, RVH board of directors chair, said in a statement.

“The structure is part of a detailed capacity plan to ensure RVH has the space, equipment and health-care workers to care for patients from across the region.”

RVH says it’s consulting with its hospital partners in Simcoe Muskoka “to define the patient population, staffing and medical models to develop an effective regional resource.”

Costs associated with the field hospital will be sponsored by Ontario Health, with construction overseen by Infrastructure Ontario.

The pandemic response unit is expected to take about a month to build and is scheduled to be ready by early June.

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