Province seeking extra health-care staff, isolation accommodations as COVID-19 precaution

·2 min read

The province is looking for additional health-care workers and alternative accommodations for people who may need to isolate in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on P.E.I.

The accommodations could be for health-care workers in COVID-positive wards, for example, said Tanya Tynski, executive director of human resources and pharmacare with Health PEI.

"They may feel that they need to have an alternative accommodation because they may have a loved one at home who is immunocompromised. And this would allow them to continue to work and maintain the health of their family members," Tynski said.

"So that would be one of the main areas where we would consider that staff accommodation."

'We plan for everything'

Tynski, who serves as P.E.I.'s chief planner with the COVID-19 Joint Response Team, said the accommodations could potentially be used to house patients who are recovering or preparing to be discharged if capacity becomes an issue at hospitals.

Tom Steepe/CBC
Tom Steepe/CBC

"That would be obviously in a very exceptional circumstance where the pandemic has progressed to a high level of spread and our surge capacity within our system has been exceeded," she said.

"We certainly don't expect that but we plan for it. We plan for everything."

Tynski said the province is also looking to bolster its staffing levels. She said anyone who has worked in the health-care field, even those who are retired, can send an expression of interest to Health PEI.

P.E.I. has had 69 known cases of COVID-19. Two remain active.

On Monday, the province suspended its participation in the Atlantic bubble as cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continue to rise.

All areas of Island

Earlier this month, the province issued a tender to potential accommodation providers. Tynski said it's difficult to predict how many accommodations might be needed, but said they are looking for them for all areas of the Island to support health-care workers.

The province had used places such as Holland College for similar purposes in the summer, but that is no longer feasible now that some students have returned to campus.

The province is looking for any accommodations that have separate entrances as well as laundry and cooking facilities. A price for the accommodations will be agreed upon beforehand, but providers will not be paid unless the accommodations are used.

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