Not only under increased stress, hospitals are tackling more than ever as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. That being the case, the province is providing them with more funding, including $3 million announced last week for hospitals in Waterloo Region.
Part of a $175-million funding package through the health Infrastructure Renewal Fund, the $3,261,485 is being split between St. Mary’s General Hospital ($1,238,425), Grand River Hospital ($1,364,765) and Cambridge Memorial Hospital ($658,295). An additional $50 million is being invested as well for COVID-19 specific projects.
Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris said the funding is done annually to help local hospitals ensure they are up to date with their maintenance and repairs.
Because of the pandemic, there is need for repairs and upgrades related to heating and ventilation systems, he added, noting the government is continuing to take a proactive approach to help all within the region.
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“We know that COVID-19 can spread via the air, so the better air-handling units that they have in hospitals, obviously you’re mitigating the risk of potential spread,” said Harris. “Our government has taken a really proactive approach in making sure that the folks here – and I’m not talking about just school or hospital or infrastructure – when you look at all the ministries and funding that’s come into the region over the last couple years, we’ve been advocating very strongly for a lot of the region to receive its fair share of funding. And I like to think when you start to total the numbers up, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in funding into the region over the last couple years; I’m really proud and excited to be part of that.”
Projects that will be undertaken include work on the north-facing building exterior, air handling units, and the roof of St. Mary’s Hospital. Cambridge Memorial Hospital will be replacing the heating system in Wing C and Grand River hospital will see the replacement of elevators and ceramic floor/wall and ceiling, alongside brick repairs, replacing the main electrical switchgear and panel.
Building automation upgrades at the Freeport campus and ambulance bay roof replacement, as well as the replacement of the reverse osmosis system at the KW campus will also happen.
Construction projects are expected to get underway immediately and help ensure the hospitals are able to continue to work without issues.
“We thank the government for their continued support in maintaining health care infrastructure. This funding is vital for hospitals, allowing them to focus on patient care and maintain the services they provide to communities. This year’s Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund grant will be used to replace the heating system in Wing C, our oldest patient care facility that was built in the 1950s. This is an important and timely upgrade for us as we have two inpatient units scheduled to move into this care facility in the fall. These units will remain there for the next four years as the final phase of our construction project involving the complete refurbishment of Wing B gets underway,” said Patrick Gaskin, president and CEO of Cambridge Memorial Hospital.