Windsor Star

WRH to handle more COVID-19 case overflow

Overwhelme­d hospitals in GTA to gradually transfer 40 patients


Windsor Regional Hospital is again putting some of its capacity to use to help overwhelme­d health partners outside the region — with 40 COVID-19 patients from the Greater Toronto Area to be transferre­d to WRH by the start of May.

According to a memo by Windsor Regional Hospital leadership to all staff, the GTA patients will arrive at a rate of five per day, for eight days, beginning this Sunday.

The memo states that it's expected the incoming patients will require treatment in a ward or medical unit — although its possible their conditions could warrant intensive care at some point during their stays.

“We have ICU capacity at this time which provides us flexibilit­y for such decisions — the kind of flexibilit­y lacking in GTA hospitals right now,” WRH leaders wrote.

The transferre­d patients are part of Windsor Regional Hospital's ongoing relationsh­ip with Trillium Health Partners — a Peel Region hospital described as “one of the hardest hit hospitals in the province” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WRH leaders believe the Windsor-essex health-care system will be able to handle any local needs while lending some of its capacity to the GTA.

“For example, today WRH has 16 available ICU beds at both campuses, with an ability to add another 12,” states the memo, which was sent on Thursday.

The memo reminds WRH staff that Windsor Regional Hospital has an obligation — “ethically and morally” — to reduce the burden on patients, their families and health care workers across the province.

During the second wave of COVID-19 patients in Ontario, when the local health system was overtaxed, hospitals in other regions helped out Windsor-essex by the same process.

The other three acute-care hospitals in the Erie St. Clair health network — Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington, Bluewater Health in Sarnia, and the Chatham-kent Health Alliance — are also part of the request to take on out-of-town patients.

Hospital officials have been working out the details of safe and timely transfer of patients from the GTA to our region. Essex-windsor EMS has been involved in the transporta­tion process.

“Please remember that we are fortunate to be in a position to help our colleagues elsewhere in the province — just as they have done when the situation was reversed,” the memo states.

The memo was signed by Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj, Chief of Medical Staff Dr. Wassim Saad, and Chief Operating Officer Karen Riddall.

Earlier this month, WRH leadership began preparing for non-local COVID -19 patients by indefinite­ly postponing all non-urgent, elective procedures, as of April 12.

The first deliveries of Toronto-area COVID-19 patients to Windsor Regional Hospital arrived on April 15.

On April 17, Windsor Regional Hospital adopted a temporary no-visitors policy, in light of climbing transmissi­on rates in the community, the provincial stayat-home order, and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital.

Windsor Regional Hospital had 21 COVID-19 patients on April 17 — the most WRH has accommodat­ed since March 14.

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