Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to have separate COVID-19 ward ready in 3 to 5 days

In the next three to five days, patients with confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 will be on their own unit at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

3 patients admitted with confirmed cases of COVID-19, another 18 presumptive cases in hospital

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre will designate its 3A floor for COVID-19 patients. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

In the next three to five days, patients with confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 will be treated on their own unit at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

Currently, three patients have tested positive for the virus, and are all in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon.

The hospital said it is following its pandemic plan, as well as best practices from other jurisdictions, which show patients with the virus are best dealt with on their own unit.

"Our pandemic plan outlines that we need to have an isolated COVID-19 unit. And, you know we have three confirmed cases, we have 18 presumptive cases, meaning that they've had a positive screen," said Dr. Stewart Kennedy, the incident manager for the COVID-19 group at the hospital.

Kennedy said staff on 3A met with him as well as members of the infection control team to discuss how they will move forward.

"We just answered a lot of the concerns that nursing staff, the housekeeping staff, the professional staff and the allied health staff had."

"Great questions, great concerns," he said, noting details still need to be worked out when it comes to separate entrances for COVID-19 staff, along with managing shift changes and childcare.

"We need to keep the staff in that environment up to date, and give them all they require," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the TBRHSC continues to work on ways to reuse personal protective equipment, to ensure it does not run short of face shields, masks and gowns. He said the hospital is slowly receiving equipment.

"We're hopeful that we can actually continue to have a trickle in of COVID-19 patients", he said. "Then have the supplies ready for the explosion, if we ever get the explosion [of patients]."

"If we hold it off for several weeks, two to four weeks, we can replenish our supplies."

He said the other challenge at this point, is ensuring quicker delivery of test results to the hospital.

Kennedy said by the end of next week, he hoped the hospital would have its own lab testing site up and running, which could deliver results in a matter of hours, instead of the current wait time of approximately three days.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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