CKHA hospitals nearly full, no plan to open field hospital

·2 min read

Despite hospitals in Chatham-Kent nearly full dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases, the field hospital at St. Clair College is not yet needed.

According to the President and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Lori Marshall, the hospital was at 96 percent occupancy as of Jan. 7. She added the hospital had one COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), three more COVID-19 positive patients outside of the ICU, and 12 more probable cases at the hospital.

In the case there is a need for the field hospital, Marshall said only patients needing minimal care who are almost ready to go home could stay there. This is because there is no laboratory or diagnostic imaging equipment at the field hospital.

Marshall said opening the field hospital would come with additional staffing challenges. She said her staff are currently working in the hospital proper, and therefore they would need to hire more staff to take care of the additional site.

“We would have to stop other services in order to send staff out there to care for patients at the field hospital. We are not anywhere near that stage,” said Marshall

Marshall added CKHA has already hired 260 staff members since March to help with the pandemic.

“We continue to hire, but at some stage, we are going to run out of available people we’d be able to employ and/or we would have to stop other services at that stage in order to redeploy staff,” said Marshall.

On average, her team also conducts about 250 swab tests a day at the assessment centre in Chatham.

In addition to the 96 percent capacity, several patients had been transferred from Windsor Regional Hospital to Chatham last week.

Marshall said the electronic health record system that recently went online at CKHA and Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington greatly helped with the transfers from Leamington.

“We had access to those records and were able to do a seamless transfer. It was a major advantage for us,” she added.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News