Sportsplex field hospital, vaccination clinic dismantled and returned to St. Clair College
Windsor Regional Hospital returned the keys on Wednesday
The field hospital at St. Clair College has been dismantled and returned to a basketball court.
After more than 15 months, Windsor Regional Hospital returned the keys to the Sportsplex to the college along with one dollar in promised rent.
Back in April 2020, the gymnasium was converted into a medical site to treat people with COVID-19, and later turned into a mass vaccination clinic.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Windsor Regional Hospital's CEO David Musyj thanked the college for lending the site to the hospital during the peak months of COVID-19.
"This thing was put together within 11 days with Easter falling in between it, so a lot was done in a very short period of time," Musyj said.
"The staff volunteered to come here from various areas of both campuses and they came together as a team."
Patti France, president of St. Clair College, accepted the keys from Musyj, and said it was a team effort to make the site a reality.
"Everybody came together and wanted to help. Everybody really put their heart and soul into making sure we can get this up and running and do it so quickly," France said.
During the press conference, the hospital's Chief of Staff Dr. Wassim Saad praised the generosity and professionalism of the staff who came to work on the site.
"They were not told to work here, I did not tap anyone on the shoulder and tell them to come work at St. Clair. They knew what they were getting into," Saad said.
"They put their personal lives at risk, they put their family's lives at risk and they did it all for patient care."
The site operated as a field hospital from April 18 to June 13 2020, and was first used as a vaccination clinic in December.
Throughout its use as a hospital, 53 long-term care patients were treated at the Sportsplex.
In total, 7,568 individuals were swabbed for COVID-19 tests and 112,777 vaccines were administered involving 85,051 individuals.
"Fifty-three citizens were admitted to the field hospital, that was just a remarkable coincidence because it meshed with ... 53 years of St. Clair College's existence in our community," said France.
The field hospital was the first of its kind in Ontario.
In a report commissioned by the Ministry of Long Term Care, Windsor was cited as the example other municipalities need to look to for how to set up a field hospital. Musyj said he received calls from other municipalities seeking advice.
"We have had reach-outs from the GTA area early on in the pandemic with respect to setting them up and operating them," Musyj said.
While many are ready to close the doors and leave the pandemic behind, the college said the keys will always be available if the need arises.
With files from Amy Dodge