Ontario’s first field hospital built during the pandemic is taking patients this week as COVID-19 infections strain the health care system.
The Burlington, Ont., facility, built on the grounds of Joseph Brant Hospital, was ready to treat patients as of Monday.
The hospital says it’s responding to increased pressure on hospital capacity across the southern Ontario region that includes Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand County and Burlington.
Rob MacIsaac, CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, says opening the field hospital is a necessary step as the health-care system is stretched to its limits.
Hospitals in the region are identifying patients whose care has progressed enough to be treated at the field unit, after consulting with their families.
“The pandemic response unit was built to care for COVID-19 patients whose condition has stabilized but require support that cannot be provided at home, such as oxygen therapy and medication, as well as ongoing monitoring of their symptoms and some personal support,” said Dr. Ian Preyra, chief of staff, in a media release this week.
“Transitioning these individuals to the PRU allows them to complete their recovery in an inpatient unit that is specifically designed to provide the type of care they need.”
The field hospital was built in April as part of the hospital network’s capacity plan. It cost about $2 million and can accommodate 93 patients.