The Espanola Regional Hospital in Espanola and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elliot Lake are putting plans in place in case field hospitals are needed for COVID-19 cases.

The Ontario government has called on local providers to have the plans in place, and although there are no cases of coronavirus in either community, they are putting contingencies in place.

St. Joseph’s Hospital CEO Pierre Ozolins says the hospital and its partners have been planning the expansion of current assets.

He says the hospital has plans to open up more beds within the facility converting a day surgery unit back to its original inpatient status.
Ozolins adds the Hospital has also gradually released patients at the Oaks, their 53-bed Drug and Alcohol facility, in an attempt to have increased capacity, should the situation warrant.

He stresses nothing will have as great an impact on their collective ability to deal with COVID-19 as our ability to stop the spread and flatten the curve.

Espanola Regional Hospital CEO Nicole Haley says they are increasing capacity at the hospital for the influx of patients, but at this time is not preparing a field hospital.

However, she adds, there are emergency plans in place in collaboration with the Espanola Community Emergency Preparedness Committee to have the complex ready should the community experience an emergency requiring an alternate location.