Coronavirus: Temporary health facility in downtown Hamilton opens amid increase in COVID-19 cases

A satellite health facility at 150 King St. E. in Effort Square has been set up to care for patients who don't need to be in a hospital, according to officials. Google Maps

A temporary Hamilton health-care facility, expected to handle overflow during a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, will start moving patients into the downtown location starting Monday, according to health officials.

The new operation, a joint venture between Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), is located at Effort Square on King Street East near Catharine Street.

The facility will house patients who do not require hospital care and are awaiting transfer to a community-based location. The outlet is expected to alleviate pressure on primary care hospitals reserving space for those with the most urgent medical needs.

Read more: 3 Toronto hospitals report COVID-19 outbreaks

Currently, HHS says its acute care occupancy is at 99 per cent.

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“Protecting acute care capacity in our hospitals is more important than ever as we contend with a global pandemic while at the same time entering the 2020-2021 infectious season,” the president and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Rob MacIsaac said in a release on Monday.

Clinical teams as well as a primary care physician are expected to be a part of the project.

The satellite facility is a part of a province-wide funding initiative of $741 million to address service backlogs across Ontario.

The launch comes amid the second wave of the pandemic with Hamilton reporting nine outbreaks across the city as of the weekend.

The latest involves a long-term care home, Macassa Lodge, and Inasmuch House, which is a shelter near Wentworth and Barton Streets.

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Both reporting a single case among staff members.

Read more: Coronavirus: Some Ontario restaurants banning out-of-town customers from indoor dining

The city’s outbreaks are at two schools (Shannen Koostachin elementary school and Sacred Heart of Jesus elementary school), two long-term care homes (Dundurn Place Care Centre and Macassa Lodge), a retail outlet (Kushies baby store), a woman’s shelter (Inasmuch House), a restaurant (Radius), a gym (SPINCO), and a social services setting (Salvation Army Lawson Ministries)

Macassa Lodge was the subject of a previous outbreak at the end of May when the city finally sorted out a string of tainted tests from that month that had resulted in 10 false-positive tests processed at Public Health Ontario Labs in Toronto.

The outbreak at the home was eventually declared over on June 1.

Hamilton hospitals are caring for six COVID-19 patients in hospitals as of Monday morning. HHS says it has five patients while St. Joes says it has two.