The field hospital in Grey-Bruce is ready but not in use

·3 min read

The Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) has relocated its mass immunization clinic in Owen Sound and reactivated its field hospital.

“The increased number of COVID-19 patient transfers from the larger metropolitan hospitals to the Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) also increases the likelihood of the field hospital located at the Bayshore coming into use. Relocating the vaccine clinics frees up operations for the field hospital,” stated Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health from GBHU in a media release.

As of April 29, through its situation report, GBHU is reporting that seven patients have been transferred from other health units in Ontario to local Intensive Care Units. However, hospitals in the South West Region have been told to expect 10 patients a day from the GTA.

In an effort to "alleviate congestion", the Owen Sound hockey hub mass immunization clinic was relocated from the Bayshore Community Centre to the Julie McArthur Regional Recreation Centre, which is located at 700 10th St. E in Owen Sound.

Nicole Schmidt, communications coordinator with GBHS said, at this point, no patients have been admitted or treated at the field hospital and at this time GBHS would only consider using the field hospital if capacity inside of the six GBHS hospitals was surpassed.

“Four Level 3 beds have been added to our critical care unit at the Owen Sound Hospital. These beds and the staff are to support our most acutely ill patients, including those with COVID-19,” Schmidt said.

“In addition, we have just opened a 10-bed transitional care unit in our Meaford Hospital to care for patients who need an alternative level of care and are waiting for placement in long-term care or retirement homes. At this time we are not considering the field hospital,” she continued.

The field hospital was originally established at the Bayshore Community Centre in mid-April 2020 in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic progressed, the site was revamped into a mass immunization clinic in March of this year. Now, as the pandemic's third wave takes hold on the province, the centre has transitioned back into a field hospital.

The field hospital was created on the arena floor and consists of 75 beds, medical gases (oxygen and suction), individual patient areas, X-ray, medical lab, pharmacy, washrooms, staff areas, and showers.

Schmidt added that staffing the field hospital would also be a challenge for GBHS.

“Human resources would be a challenge, given that we have re-deployed staff internally, and accepted staff from our partner hospitals in South Bruce Grey Health Services, Hanover and District Hospital, and the Markdale Community Health Centre to support the additional beds we have opened internally,” Schmidt said.

Any individuals who had booked an appointment at the Bayshore Community Centre should attend the Julie McArthur Regional Recreation Centre instead. Times of appointments have not changed and GBHU will be sending out notification of the location change by phone or email to those with appointments.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca