Joe Brant Hospital President and CEO Eric Vandewall in his weekly message to the JBH community, provided some clarity on the Pandemic Response Unit that was built at JBH a year ago and is currently being used as a vaccination clinic.
Since March 12, 2021, Joseph Brant Hospital began operating a Halton Region Vaccination Clinic in the Pandemic Response Unit (PRU). To date, we have vaccinated over 16,000 individuals in our community and will continue to immunize prioritized groups established by Halton Region. In Halton, we continue to see high numbers of new COVID-19 cases and it is too soon to determine if we have reached the peak of this third wave. In terms of our hospital’s capacity, today JBH is at 91% capacity. We are currently caring for 28 patients with COVID-19 – 16 of these patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In recent weeks, the total number of patients (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) in our ICU units has ranged on average from the low 20s to as high as 29. We have the capacity to surge to 32 patients in ICU if needed.
Understandably, given the dire situation, we have been asked why we continue to use our PRU as a vaccination clinic and why it is not being used for COVID-19 care to help manage patient overflow in regional hospitals dealing with record numbers of COIVD 19 patients.
Vaccination is a critical step to reducing the spread of COVID-19 as well as to keep people healthy, safe and well. We stand ready to mobilize the PRU back to providing patient care within 24 hours if additional bed capacity is required. The PRU was intended to be used when all conventional space in hospitals was exhausted across the region, as a “safety valve”, to relieve pressure on conventional hospital beds and to ensure there is sufficient capacity to care for COVID-19 mild to moderate patients who are on their way to recovery and to return home. The point of requiring the PRU for patient care has not yet been reached.
Mr., Vandewall went on to say that Since the beginning of 2021, JBH has accepted 50 inter-regional patient transfers, from overcrowded hospitals in the GTA . He says the hospital has been able to increase the number of ICU beds up to 32. “This has been done by reviewing our health human resources and placing all available healthcare staff in roles to support staffing these additional ICU beds, as a result of our surgical ramp down.”