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New Vaughan hospital to initially be dedicated to alleviating COVID-19 pressures

Click to play video: 'State-of-the-art Vaughan hospital to help in Ontario’s fight against COVID-19' State-of-the-art Vaughan hospital to help in Ontario’s fight against COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: When Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital opens in early February, it will temporarily serve as a system-wide support facility for Ontario’s COVID-19 response. Shallima Maharaj has the details. – Jan 18, 2021

TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford says a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont., will be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 rates.

Ford says some patients from overcrowded Greater Toronto Area hospitals will be transferred to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital when it opens on Feb. 7.

The hospital will add 35 new critical care beds and 150 medical beds to the province’s bed capacity.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says some Toronto hospitals are already transferring patients to Kingston, Ont,. and Niagara Region to help ease crowding.

Read more: How well has Canada fought the COVID-19 pandemic? 3 experts weigh in

The province says that once the COVID-19 capacity pressures have stabilized, the new Vaughan hospital will provide care to patients in York Region as originally planned.

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The province also says it will spend $125 million to create 500 additional beds to deal with the latest virus surge which it has warned could overwhelm hospitals.

Ontario is reporting 2,578 new cases of COVID-19 today and 24 more deaths linked to the virus.

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Elliott said there are 815 new cases in Toronto and 507 in Peel Region. She also said there were 151 more cases in York Region and Niagara Region.

There were 9,691 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered since Ontario’s last daily report.

The province reported that nearly 40,300 tests were completed since the last daily update.

Read more: Ontario reports 2,578 new coronavirus cases, 24 more deaths

There have been 240,364 total cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario since the pandemic began.

A total of 206,310 cases have been resolved and 5,433 Ontarians have died from the virus.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health said 209,788 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

A clinic dedicated to administering vaccines opened in a Toronto convention centre on Monday morning.

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City officials said the “proof-of-concept” clinic will help Ontario’s Ministry of Health test and adjust the setup of immunization clinics in non-hospital settings.

The clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is in the downtown core, aims to vaccinate 250 people per day, but the city notes that is entirely dependent upon vaccine supply.

Pfizer-BioNTech, which manufactures one of the two Health Canada-approved vaccines, announced last week that it’s temporarily delaying international shipments of the shots while it upgrades production facilities in Europe.

The Ontario government has said that will affect the province’s vaccine distribution plan, and some people will see their booster shots delayed by several weeks.

The City of Hamilton, meanwhile, said the province has directed it to temporarily cease administering the first dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to everyone except residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes and retirement facilities.

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A spokeswoman for the Health Minister did not say how many regions of the province had received that directive.

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