Windsor

London doctors' group backtracks on memo that said 60 Toronto patients coming to region

Area hospitals prepare to take in one to two patients a day for the next week to help with third COVID-19 wave in the GTA. 

London doctors' group backtracks on memo that said 60 Toronto patients coming to region

Hospitals prepare for daily influx of patients. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Area hospitals are preparing to take in one to two patients a day for the next week to help with third COVID-19 wave in the GTA. 

A memo obtained by CBC Monday, under the London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance's logo, incorrectly said that 60 patients from the GTA would be transferred to the Windsor and Chatham area this week.

But in new memo released Tuesday the alliance says the information it circulated to its members was inaccurate and that 40 patients will be coming to the broader London and Windsor regions. 

This number is more in line with what local hospitals say they have been anticipating. 

CBC News spoke to both Windsor hospitals Monday and both called the original memo inaccurate and that the 60 number was incorrect. 

Bluewater Health in Sarnia took in its first GTA patient Monday and is prepared to bring in more, according to chief of staff Mike Haddad. 

"We can handle more, we have capacity to help our neighbours in the GTA," he told CBC News Tuesday. "We're looking at maybe 1 to 2 a day." 

At this time he said they have seven patients in hospital with COVID-19, two of whom are in the ICU. The hospital is sitting at 75 per cent capacity and ICU is at 70 per cent capacity, Haddad said. 

As of Monday, Windsor Regional Hospital has five GTA patients. (CBC News)

"We don't live on an island and we understand and know that we have to help our neighbours," he said. "Fortunately now we have capacity and the staff is actually quite prepared for it." 

He said they are trying to maintain a fine balance of having enough resources to handle their local population while also helping out other regions as well. 

A little more than a week ago, Haddad said the hospital sent out a request to staff looking for volunteers to go to the GTA. But so far, he said they haven't sent any staff out of the region. 

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has also taken in its first GTA patient and the hospital told CBC News it expects to take in at least one GTA patient a day for the "foreseeable future." 

Meanwhile, as of Monday Windsor Regional Hospital had taken in five patients. 

Chief of staff Mike Haddad says Bluewater Health in Sarnia is prepared to take on more patients and staff are ready. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

In addition to the 40 patients going to the Southwest and Erie St. Clair LHINs, the memo said another 60 will go to hospitals in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN and Waterloo Wellington LHIN. 

After the new memo was released, the London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance told CBC News that both notes used its logo "in error." 

The alliance's primary care communications lead Drina Silva told CBC News in an email to contact Ontario Health West for any information related to patient transfer. 

On Tuesday night, Ontario Health West confirmed in an email to CBC News that hospitals have been asked to prepare to "potentially" accept around 100 patients, though these patients would be divided among several hospitals in the western region. 

"All of these hospitals are aware patient transfers to them may be required and are on standby," the email reads. 

For hospitals in the Sarnia, Chatham and Windsor regions, Ontario Health West said the "plan" is to transfer a total of two ward/medical patients a day, plus any additional ICU admissions as needed. 

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