Beginning Tuesday, April 28, South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s (SBGHC) Walkerton site will reopen for admissions of non-COVID/non-respiratory patients.
On April 6, SBGHC designated the Acute Care Units at the Kincardine and Walkerton hospitals as dedicated COVID/respiratory units in preparation for a surge of acute respiratory patients requiring admission. Since that time, it has become clear that the impact of COVID-19 is beginning to be felt instead by long-term care (LTC) and retirement homes, both provincially and locally.
The surge of patients in hospital that SBGHC has been preparing for has not yet materialized, and as a result, the volume of non-COVID/non-respiratory patients being admitted to the Chesley and Durham hospitals has been steadily increasing, while volumes in Kincardine and Walkerton remain very low. The decision was made to return the Walkerton hospital to a non-COVID/non-respiratory site to help alleviate some of this pressure. SBGHC’s Kincardine site will continue to operate as the designated COVID/respiratory site for the organization.
It is important to note that the Emergency Departments (ED) at all four of SBGHC’s sites are continuing to operate as usual, and patients should still go to their nearest hospital if they require care. If a patient presents with respiratory symptoms or symptoms of COVID-19, staff and physicians will take all the necessary precautions to care for them in designated areas within the ED, with personal protective equipment to ensure there is no transfer of infection.
“I want to stress that people should not be staying away from the Emergency Department for fear of COVID-19,” explains Michael Barrett, President and CEO. “There are significant infection control measures in place at all four of our sites to protect our patients. Our Emergency Departments are open and here for you should you require hospital care.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did SBGHC designate COVID-19/respiratory sites?
Evidence demonstrates that having separate units to manage patients with COVID-19/respiratory symptoms is an important first step, allowing for distinct separation of patients that do not have COVID-19, and may be at higher risk for serious symptoms.
What makes a COVID-19/respiratory site different than a non-COVID site?
Modifications have been made to separate the inpatient unit from the remainder of the hospital. New doors have been installed to gain access to the inpatient areas, and negative pressure has been created in these areas.
What is negative pressure?
Large fan units have been installed through the inpatient areas which draw air out and is then directly exhausted to the outside. In other words, air is being removed from the inpatient area so it is not being recirculated throughout the unit.
How does this impact the Emergency Departments (ED)?
The ED at all four sites will continue to accept patients with both COVID-19/respiratory symptoms and non-COVID-19/non-respiratory symptoms. If you present with respiratory symptoms or symptoms of COVID-19, staff and physicians will take all the necessary precautions to care for you in designated areas within the ED with personal protective equipment to ensure there is no transfer of infection.
Do I need to make a choice what hospital site I should go to?
No, please go to the nearest hospital as you normally would. If you require admission for COVID-19/respiratory symptoms, you will be admitted to Kincardine. If you require admission for non-COVID-19/non-respiratory symptoms, you will be admitted to Chesley, Durham or Walkerton.
Are Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Services still available?
Yes, diagnostics and lab are still available for both COVID-19/respiratory and non-COVID-19 patients. Again, all required precautions will be undertaken to ensure no transfer of the virus.
How does this impact the Dr. R.J. Creighton Family Birthing Centre (FBC) at the Walkerton site?
Births will still continue at the FBC. The physical layout of the Walkerton site means that the FBC is segregated from the rest of the hospital.
Should a mom present for delivery with COVID-19/Respiratory symptoms, there is separate, designated space inside the FBC to care for this mom and baby, and staff and physicians are trained to care for these patients.
Will EMS or Police take me to a particular site?
No, EMS and Police will take patients to the closest available site.
What happens if a patient with COVID-19/respiratory symptoms presents in either Chesley, Durham or Walkerton?
If you present with respiratory symptoms, staff and physicians will take all the necessary precautions to care for you in designated areas within the ED with personal protective equipment to ensure there is no transfer of infection. If you required admission for COVID-19/respiratory symptoms, you would be transferred to Kincardine for admission.
Will Kincardine’s designation as a COVID-19/respiratory site impact its designation as a contaminated casualty site for Bruce Power?
No, the contaminated casualty room is located in the ED of the Kincardine site, separate from the COVID-19/respiratory unit in the inpatient area, and will continue to function normally, with the exception of incorporating any additional precautions that may be needed due to COVID-19 risks.