The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre has cut the ribbon on its pandemic field hospital in Barrie, Ont., as the province continues into the second wave of COVID-19.
The 70-bed, 8,250 square-foot structure is meant to be a regional asset for partner hospitals facing capacity challenges, such as Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, Georgian Bay General Hospital, Muskoka Algonquin Health, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Stevenson Memorial Hospital.
Professionally staffed and fully-equipped, the field hospital is not a unit for COVID patients but for patients who are medically stable with an estimated stay of three to five days.
The pandemic response unit will open in phases, beginning in late November, as community needs dictate.
“RVH is very well-trained and well-prepared to respond to this pandemic,” RVH’s president and CEO, Janice Skot, said in a statement. “We have the staff and supplies, equipment and expertise, and now, the bed capacity to care for patients from across the region.”
RVH’s field hospital was built with the direction and support of the Ontario government, which recently provided $12.3 million in new operational funding. The funding will allow RVH to open 99 more beds, including 70 in the pandemic field hospital.
“The investment for the new pandemic response unit at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre will help to increase hospital capacity and reduce wait times for patients and families in Simcoe Muskoka and beyond,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement.
“Together, we are ensuring that our healthcare system is able to respond to the second and future waves of COVID-19.”
Georgian Bay General Hospital’s president and CEO, Gail Hunt, said having extra beds available at RVH means its patients can finish their recovery in a fully-functioning field hospital and safely return home to their communities when ready.
“The (pandemic response unit) is an insurance policy in the face of a very uncertain and unpredictable future,” chair of the RVH board of directors, Charlotte Wallis, said in a statement.
“RVH is well-prepared and ready to work with our regional partners to ensure all residents of the region can get the care they need close to home.”