Before the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, Ontario’s first net new hospital in 30 years, opens its doors as a general hospital, it will start off as a COVID19 surge facility. The brand new hospital is being folded into a plan by Ontario to immediately add over 500 critical care and high intensity medicine beds to hospitals in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission. The new hospital is scheduled to open on February 7.
Initially, Mackenzie Health’s Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will provide a total of 185 beds, including over 35 critical care beds and 150 general medicine beds, which will support patients from other hospitals and alleviate hospital capacity pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reporters had some difficulty getting clear answers about where the staffing will come from for these 500 new beds, but part of the answer appeared to be that the majority of the 500 beds will be used to manage patients who are recovering and do not require as intense a level of care. Neither Premier Ford nor Health Minister Christine Elliott had anything to say about any recruitment plans to staff up the new beds.
Paid Sick Leave
Asked about growing demands for paid sick leave, Ford said the government is in talks with Ottawa to get the current sick leave plan changed so more people will take advantage of it. There is more than a billion dollars in the fund but so far only 27 percent of the fund has been taken up—largely it is believed, because the payout at $500 per week, minus taxes is too small to attract participation
Premier Ford acknowledged that the interruption in the supply of Pfizer vaccine is a setback in efforts to vaccinate the significant senior population who are not living in long-term care homes. As it stands there is only enough vaccine now to look after those who have already received their first shot in long term care.
The government says it will spend $18 billion over the next 10 years in hospital infrastructure projects across Ontario that will lead to $27 billion in capital investments and $175 million in repairs and upgrades to 129 hospitals this year through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund.