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Province provides funds for more critical beds

The Ontario government is providing up to $125 million to immediately add over 500 critical care and high-intensity medicine beds to hospitals in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission.

A portion of the funding will also be used to temporarily transition Mackenzie Health’s Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital into a systemwide resource supporting the province’s COVID-19 response when the new hospital is scheduled to open on February 7. These initiatives will help relieve pressures on nearby hospitals due to rapid increases in hospitalization and ICU occupancy rates.

“The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is the first newly built hospital in three decades and this net new capacity will be critical until we are in a position to widely administer vaccines across the province,” Premier Doug Ford said. “I want to especially thank Mackenzie Health for stepping up to allow us to temporarily use this new facility to support our COVID-19 response and take pressure off other hospitals in the region. It’s these kinds of innovative partnerships that make a world of difference in our fight against this deadly virus.”

Initially, Mackenzie Health’s Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will provide a total of 185 beds, including over 35 critical care beds and 150 general medicine beds, which will support patients from other hospitals and alleviate hospital capacity pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Once COVID-19 capacity pressures have stabilized, the new hospital will provide care and services to patients from across the western York Region as originally planned, including emergency and modern surgical services, and offer advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities, intensive care beds, medicine, birthing, pediatrics and mental health services, as well as the York Region District Stroke Centre.

“Although it will be a very different opening than we had anticipated and committed to our staff, physicians and community, we’re prouder than ever to play a significant role in supporting the province’s overstretched health care system as we all work together to fight COVID-19,” said Altaf Stationwala, CEO of Mackenzie Health.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario’s government has been working with its hospital partners to create unprecedented capacity and be ready to respond to any scenario. The province invested an additional $2.5 billion in our province’s hospital sector this year, and the new beds announced at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital and across the province are in addition to the more than 3,100 beds funded by the province as part of its COVID-19 response.

“Our government is using every tool at our disposal to support our hospitals as they respond to COVID-19,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “This new funding will help to alleviate capacity pressures being faced by hospitals, allowing our health care system to work more seamlessly and effectively to keep Ontarians safe. We will continue to work together with all our hospitals and health care partners to care for those affected by this deadly virus.”

To further support frontline health care workers caring for patients during the pandemic, Ontario has also amended O. Reg 74/20 (Work Redeployment for Certain Health Services Providers) in response to the increasing demands on hospitals and retirement homes. The amended order will allow hospitals to temporarily redeploy health care workers to other hospitals or retirement homes that urgently need additional support. The order was previously amended to allow hospital staff to temporarily work in long-term care homes.

The province continues to work with its hospital partners to further enhance capacity as required.


Photo: Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott get a tour of the new Vaughan hospital by CEO Altaf Stationwala.

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