Ontario Prepares Hospitals for Any COVID-19 Scenario

Halton Healthcare to reopen hospitals for scheduled procedures

The province has added beds to the hospital system across the province. The decision was made in preparation for various scenarios in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

The province has added an additional 1,035 acute care beds, and 1,492 critical beds to hospitals across the province. “Thanks to the hard work and relentless preparation of our hospital staff to build capacity in our hospitals, we are in a position to better allocate resources to sectors that are in critical need and respond to any potential surge in cases,” Premier Doug Ford said.

Ontario has a total of 20,354 acute care beds with a potential for an additional 4,205 more acute care beds by April 30, 2020. Of Ontario’s 3,504 critical care beds, 2,811 are now equipped with ventilators, up from 1,319 when the outbreak first started.

“Ontario will be prepared to respond to any outbreak scenario including having plans in place for the worst-case scenario,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.  The bed capacity has been coordinated with pandemic staffing plans to ensure hospitals have the staff they need in case of a major surge.  Measures to ensure proper staffing include:

  • Redeploying surgical nursing staff who can now work with medicine units;
  • Sharing highly trained emergency department and intensive care unit nursing staffs across units;
  • Sharing physician resources across hospitals in a given region;
  • Recruiting family doctors to complete shifts within the hospital; and
  • Recruiting retirees, including nursing and support services.

The province could also add new beds through the use of field hospitals, conference centres, and schools should the needs change.