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Region hospitals on standby to receive overflow patients from Manitoba

While no patients have been transferred to Waterloo Region as of yet, both Grand River and St. Mary’s General hospitals are on standby for COVID-19 patients from Manitoba.

Cases in Manitoba have surged in recent days, with the province marking a record seven-day average of 480 cases on May 22. The unfortunate milestone has put Intensive care units, ICUs, in the province at capacity forcing health officials to look outward for help.

Fortunately for the people of Manitoba, hospitals in other provinces such as Ontario are willing and able to help out in any way they can.

“It is absolutely essential that everyone, and not just in our region, but outside the region, work together to maximize the amount of space that we can use and maximize the level of care,” said Patrick Moore, spokesperson for St. Joseph’s Healthcare System.

Hospitals such as Grand River do in fact have the space. The critical care capacity for Grand River Hospital sits at 35 beds spanning three different ICU floors, said Cheryl Evans, the hospital’s communications manager.

Hospitals in the region are used to the transportation of patients. Even before COVID-19 began, patients were transferred to different hospitals based on the type of care or needs they required.

“Transferring patients between facilities is nothing new. It’s something that we’re always doing to sort of manage needs and capacity,” explained Evans. “But certainly it is very important during COVID.”

While transferring patients is a commonplace endeavor for any hospital, special considerations must be made when the transfers come from a different province.

“The biggest issue, in the case of patients coming from the province, would be how to get them back,” said Moore. “Once they’ve had their treatment and they’re on the road to recovery, then how to get them back to their own province.”

The answer to that caveat will have to come from the province.

“The Ontario government’s working on that behind the scenes,” said Moore.

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