Province seeking up to 60 temporary hospital spaces in Thompson as part of pandemic response

The Manitoba government’s request for proposals (RFP) for temporary low-acuity hospital facilities in three cities anticipates requiring up to 60 spaces in a maximum of two facilities in Thompson, according to the RFP document.

The province is also seeking 120 spaces in a maximum of four facilities in Winnipeg and up to 120 spaces in a maximum of two facilities in Brandon as a safety valve during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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These spaces would be for people who do not require typical hospital care but may not be able to go home right away, said Manitoba’s chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa at an April 6 press conference. Deciding whether to open the temporary hospitals would depend on the volume of patients in an area and their needs.

“That may be patients who could typically go home but maybe the home environment’s not ready for them or maybe they need home care but the services are limited because of the situation we’re in,” Siragusa said, explaining who low-acuity hospitals would be for. “That would be really a place to transition back home to the community and so I guess it would depend on the level of service that is required. I can’t really predict how fast that’s going to happen and exactly when but we will be monitoring every day. We’re planning in advance and we will make decisions as we need to to expand space.”

The closing date for submissions is April 13.

There were only three positive tests for COVID-19 in the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) area as of April 8.

An isolation centre for people who tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a known case has already been established and opened in a Winnipeg hotel.

There were 221 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Manitoba as of April 8, including 149 active cases, 12 of whom were in hospital. Of those hospitalized on Wednesday, six were in intensive care. The province listed 69 people as having recovered from their infections.

There were close to 20,000 positive tests for the coronavirus in Canada as of April 9 and 461 people had died from their infections. Federal government models estimate that there will be between 22,850 to 31,850 coronavirus cases in Canada by April 16 and that 500 to 700 people will have died. With strong control measures such as physical distancing and a higher percentage of known cases and their contacts traced and isolated or quarantined, the Public Health Agency of Canada model suggests between one and 10 per cent of Canadians could be infected by the virus. If 2.5 per cent are infected, there could be close to a million cases, 73,000 people hospitalized - 23,000 of them in intensive care - and 11,000 deaths. If five per cent are infected, those figures could double. 

The agency says Canada is at an earlier stage of the pandemic than some other countries and that the keys to minimizing deaths are to maintain physical distancing, increase the number of people tested, self-isolate those who test positive and rapidly trace their contacts.

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