CKHA can accept patients from other hospitals if COVID-19 surges

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance could accept patients from other hospitals that are filled to capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, says president and CEO Lori Marshall.

Chatham Kent Health Alliance. File photo

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The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance could accept patients from other hospitals that are filled to capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, says president and CEO Lori Marshall.

There were 518 people hospitalized in Ontario with COVID-19 on Friday. That total included 142 in intensive care units.

One day earlier, Ontario had 150 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units to reach a key threshold that government projections said could lead to cancelled surgeries and less support for patients.

“We continue to have a slightly different profile in Chatham-Kent compared to many other areas of the province,” Marshall said. “We are at about 70 per cent occupancy in the hospital.”

The Chatham hospital had two COVID-19 patients Friday – one from Chatham-Kent and one from outside the municipality.

It does not have a specific number of beds designated for COVID-19 patients, but it does have a plan to group patients in a unit. Some can be kept in the intensive-care unit, Marshall said, and those requiring a lower level of care can be put together in a pod in the medical unit.

If necessary, the hospital group could take in COVID-19 patients from outside Chatham-Kent or accept non-virus patients forced out of other hospitals by a COVID-19 surge, she said.

“Our hospital is really considered not only a resource and asset to Chatham-Kent, it is a provincial resource and asset,” Marshall said. “It is possible that at some stage we might anticipate that patients could be transferred to Chatham-Kent from other jurisdictions in the event that care was required and that the individuals were at a level that would be suitable for care to be provided in Chatham-Kent.”

She urged people to follow COVID-19 guidelines and stay healthy.

“I would underscore that this is really why we need everyone in the province to really be adhering to the things that we know make a difference, in terms of the social distancing, the hand hygiene, the wearing of masks,” she said. “This is what is going to help to keep us all healthy and also to keep the capacity … available to support people in the event that people do need hospitalization for anything.”

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