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Province announces more hospital beds in Kenora

Posted: November 11, 2020

(November 10, 2020)

By: Mike Aiken, Kenora Online

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford announces 12 new hospital beds in Kenora. (Submitted)

With the second wave of COVID-19 well underway, the province says they’re adding 12 beds at Lake of the Woods District Hospital.

“We are very pleased to receive funding approval for up to 12 beds in the event we face a surge of COVID-19 admissions that surpasses our normal bed capacity,” says the president and CEO at Lake of the Woods District Hospital, Ray Racette.

“This support enables us to fully execute our pandemic response. We appreciate the support from the Government of Ontario and Minister Rickford,” added Racette, in a prepared statement.

The province is also adding 30 more beds in Thunder Bay, and they hope the added space will help ease occupancy pressures and support the continuation of surgeries and procedures.

“Our government continues to invest in urgent health care priorities in communities across the north,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, who is Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, as well as the provincial Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

The new beds announced today are in addition to the $234.5 million investment for 139 critical care beds and up to 1,349 hospital beds included in Ontario’s fall preparedness plan. This brings the total investment to $351 million for more than 2,250 new beds at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province.

There have been a total of 82 cases of COVID-19 reported in the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment area as of Monday. Last month, there hadn’t been any COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the district hospital.

Last December, the hospital had 74 beds listed. However, the hospital has been adjusting the use of their space, due to social distancing and public health measures.

Ontario’s Opposition Leader, Andrea Horwath of the NDP, has been critical of the government’s response to the second wave. Yesterday, she cited plans to loosen restrictions last week, despite rising case counts.

“In this time of a pandemic, we need the premier to be listening to experts, not attacking them,” she said in a prepared statement.

“Ford’s own caucus members are trying to score political points by suggesting the local medical officers of health are making the wrong calls. In a pandemic, we need cooperation and respect for the medical experts working to save lives,” Horwath continued.

In Ontario, there were 1,242 new cases reported yesterday for a total of 85,395 during the pandemic.

In Manitoba, there were 365 new cases yesterday, including 233 in Winnipeg.

The Ontario Health Coalition has been using volunteers to help track the second wave of the coronavirus. In a report released last week on the second wave, the coalition found:

  • 181 currently active outbreaks in health care settings (most started between Sept. 18 and Oct. 28.),
  • 589 staff members have contracted COVID-19 in health and congregate care settings,
  • 884 patients or residents infected with COVID-19,
  • 89 residents deceased

In response, the provincial government focused on the battle against the coronavirus in last week’s budget. Health Minister Christine Elliott repeated the pledge yesterday.

“Our government is making the necessary investments to quickly and effectively increase hospital capacity and reduce wait times for patients and families across Northern Ontario,” said Elliott, in a media release.

“This additional investment will ensure our health care system is able to respond to future waves of COVID-19 and help patients waiting for surgeries and other procedures get the care they need, faster,” Elliott added.

In last week’s budget, the provincial government projected $15.2 billion to fight the pandemic, with another $4 billion in 2021-22 and a further $2 billion in 2022-23.

The 2020-21 spending includes $2.8 billion to support the province’s fall plan focuses on addressing surges in COVID-19 cases and reducing health service backlogs by:

  • Extending hours for priority surgeries and diagnostic imaging
  • Helping up to 850 alternate level of care patients access proper care in a home or community setting
  • Expanding digital health and virtual services,
  • Increasing home and community care service by adding 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.

For more information:

‘Your government will be there for you,’ finance minister

Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover

Ontario NDP – NDP calls on Ford to stop gambling with people’s lives

Ontario Health Coalition – Tracking of COVID-19

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