Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) announced on Thursday a partnership with St. Clair College that will see the school's SportsPlex converted into a field hospital in preparation for a potential "surge" of COVID-19 patients.
Over the course of the next week, staff will begin transforming the SportsPlex into a site with the capacity to treat up to 100 "low-acuity" patients recovering from COVID-19, as well as those who are in the recovery phase of their treatments, according to a media release published on Thursday.
Hospital president and CEO David Musyj said the SportsPlex conversion is being done in preparation "for the expected patient influx."
"This will help address challenges for hospitals across the province," he said, in the same media release. "Best case scenario is we do not need to move any patients to the St. Clair College site, but we have to be ready for the worst."
WRH has already created additional capacity at its Met and Ouellette campuses, creating 250 beds by pausing scheduled surgeries, as well as by receiving support from Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and regional partners.
The hospital has also been able to create an additional 109 beds across both campuses by converting "various rooms" on each floor of each site into patients rooms.
As of Thursday, the hospital has approximately 350 additional patient spaces that are currently vacant across both the Met and Ouellette campuses.
During the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's (WECHU) daily COVID-19 media briefing on Thursday, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said the region has 128 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Additionally, 1,237 people have been tested for COVID-19 so far, while 268 tests are still pending.
Last week, St. Clair College donated 35 hospital beds and eight ventilators to Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, intended to coordinate with WRH to determine supply needs.
St. Clair College president Patti France said her organization was "honoured" to help the hospital in its "heroic battle" against coronavirus.
"Our students and staff have been using the SportsPlex to foster their health for the past half-decade, so it is a natural transition for the community to use it now to restore its health," France said, in the same Thursday media release. "We will continue to respond immediately and enthusiastically to anything asked of the college while this challenge confronts our community."