Windsor Regional Hospital to accept 40 GTA patients to help with overcapacity in Toronto area

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Windsor Regional Hospital will accept dozens of patients from the GTA in the coming week. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)
Windsor Regional Hospital will accept dozens of patients from the GTA in the coming week. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)

Windsor Regional Hospital will be accepting a total of 40 patients from hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, the hospital said in a memo released Thursday.

Starting Sunday, Essex Windsor EMS, along with EMS in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton, will work together to transfer five patients from the GTA over the following eight days. In an email to CBC News, Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) said the patients will "most likely" be ones with COVID-19.

"We have an obligation — including ethically and morally — to help reduce the burden patients, families and health care workers are facing in the GTA during this unprecedented "third wave,"' the memo reads.

The hospital said it expects the patients will be brought to Windsor to be treated in a ward or medical unit, though patients may need ICU care during their stay. Patients will be divided between 4N at the hospital's Met Campus and CTU at the Ouellette Campus.

The announcement comes two days after the hospital denied a report that there was a plan to bring a large number of patients to the region from the GTA. CBC reported Monday on a memo from London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance that said up to 60 patients were headed to the region.

The hospital said the 60 number was incorrect, stating that it anticipated that combined, hospitals in Sarnia, Chatham and Windsor areas would accept a total of 14 patients over the next week, plus any additional ICU admissions.

The following day, the London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance said the original memo was incorrect and noted that 40 patients would be coming to the broader London and Windsor regions.

In Thursday's announcement, sent on behalf of WRH CEO David Musyj, chief nursing executive Karen Riddell and chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad, it acknowledges the previous information that was shared and says, "we also indicated that this could change as this Wave 3 evolves."

It said the situation had changed in recent days, prompting conversations among hospitals and health ministry officials as "there has been a move to "partner" a hospital facing capacity issues with a receiving hospital with available capacity." For WRH, that hospital is Trillium Health Partners.

In the memo, WRH said Trillium Health Partners "has been one of the hardest hit hospitals" in Ontario.

At this time, WRH said it is still being determined whether other patients are headed to other hospitals in the region.

During a health meeting Thursday, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance said it has received a total of two patients from the GTA and also received two patients from WRH.

Meanwhile, Bluewater Health in Sarnia told CBC News Tuesday that it is looking at bringing in one to two patients a day.

As of Wednesday, WRH had 20 COVID-19 patients in hospital.