St. Mary's Kitchener

Collaboration key for area hospitals to combat COVID-19

Apr 6, 2020

Apr 2, 2020 By: Mark Pare

It was an all-encompassing conversation on the state of hospitals in Waterloo Region, dealing with hurdles they might be facing in the fight against COVID-19.

The three President and CEO’s of our hospitals — Ron Gagnon of Grand River Hospital, Lee Fairclough of St. Mary’s General Hospital and Patrick Gaskin of Cambridge Memorial Hospital — joined in on a special edition of The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS Wednesday night.

Gagnon says the three of them are in constant communication with each other with multiple phone calls and texts at all hours of the day, as they collaborate on a strategy to deal with the pandemic together.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that my two colleagues wouldn’t hesitate to help if our organization needed it,” he said, “And I know we wouldn’t hesitate to help them either.”

One of the big issues is hospital capacity, more notably for intensive care.

Gagnon says the number of ICU beds is growing daily locally.

“Between the three hospitals, we’ve actually identified just shy of 430 more spaces that we will put into operation over the course of this,” he said.

As for extra space, Gagnon says they’re talking with hotels, as well as large facilities to meet what could be a “super-surge” in patients.

“We’re working very actively with people in the community to identify spaces outside of hospital,” he said.

As for having the equipment, Gagnon says his, and other hospitals, are working proactively in anticipation for what’s to come, and that includes identifying needs and working with supply chains.

“For the job we have to do right now, and up to the coming weeks, we believe that we do (have the equipment necessary),” he said.

Dr. Fairclough says the supply of personal protective equipment supply is a topic that comes up a lot.

“China was a major producer of the protective equipment we need,” she said, “They’re recovering from COVID now, so things are looking more encouraging.”

“We have the equipment staff needs when they come in to care for patients. We won’t be in a situation where that’s not the case.”

CLICK HERE to listen to the full conversation.