WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor Regional Hospital is preparing to accept a number of COVID-19 patients from the Greater Toronto Area.

The plan is to start accepting five patients a day at WRH over the next eight days for a total of 40 commencing Sunday April 25, 2021.

This is the memo was that was sent to staff on behalf of CEO David Musyj, Chief Nursing Executive Karen Riddell and Chief of Staff Dr. Wassim Saad.

We know that there have been a lot of rumours, speculation and reports about what and how Windsor Regional Hospital will help out with the overcapacity crisis at our partner hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area. We are doing the best we can to give you a “head’s up” on where things are heading, and to that end, here is where we stand today:

As previously noted, we have an obligation – including ethically and morally – to help reduce the burden patients, families and health care workers are facing in the GTA during this unprecedented “third wave.” The fact that our numbers of COVID-19 patients regionally has remained relatively stable and along with all Ontario hospitals we have been directed to stop non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries gives us the capacity and more ability to take on additional patients from other sites. This same process was put into place to help Windsor/Essex during Wave 2.

This week we clarified that the acute care hospitals of our Erie St Clair region (Bluewater, CKHA, ESHC and WRH) had been asked to collectively take 2 “ward/medical” patients a day and independently ICU patients as demand increases. This would translate into 14 total ward/medical patients divided up between the 4 hospitals per week plus ICU patients. However, we also indicated this could change as this Wave 3 evolves.

Since that time, in conversation with many other hospitals in the province and through the provincial IMS and West region IMS tables, there has been a move to “partner” a hospital facing capacity issues with a receiving hospital with available capacity. We are having such discussions now with a GTA partner, Trillium Health Partners. The Peel Region is a “hotspot” since the start of COVID-19 and Trillium Health Partners has been one of the hardest hit hospitals in the province as well.

Working together with the EMS teams from Essex-Windsor, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton the plan is to start accepting five (5) patients a day at Windsor Regional Hospital over the next eight (8) days for a total of forty (40) commencing Sunday April 25, 2021. We expect that these patients would be brought to Windsor for treatment on a ward/medical unit though we cannot assume the conditions of these patients would not warrant ICU care at some point during their stay. (We have ICU capacity at this time which provides us flexibility for such decision – the kind of flexibility lacking in GTA hospitals right now). For example, today WRH has 16 available ICU beds at both campuses with an ability to add another 12. As normal we will be focusing admission to 4N at Met and CTU at Ouellette. Working with our ESC partners this will continue to allow to have capacity for any local needs as well.

The process of working out logistics and protocol for safe and timely patient transports at this time is underway and officials at both hospitals are working together to ensure the process is smooth.

We will keep you up to date daily in our daily morning emails on progress. Please be patient while we work out these arrangements with Trillium Health Partners and please remember that we are fortunate to be in a position to help our colleagues elsewhere in the province – just as they have done when the situation was reversed.