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Province spending $125M to create 500 new critical care beds for hospitals

Mackenzie Health’s new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital to support short-term pandemic response

The province is adding 500 more critical care and high intensity medicine beds to hospitals in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday.

Premier Doug Ford held the news conference at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in Vaughan, Ontario's newest hospital.

Ontario is spending $125 million on the initiative. A portion of that money will be used to temporarily transition Mackenzie Health's Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital into a system-wide resource supporting the province's COVID-19 response when the new hospital is scheduled to open on Feb. 7.

These initiatives will help relieve pressures on nearby hospitals due to rapid increases in hospitalization and ICU occupancy rates, the province said in a news release.

"The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is the first newly built hospital in three decades, and this net new capacity will be critical until we are in a position to widely administer vaccines across the province," said Premier Ford. "I want to especially thank Mackenzie Health for stepping up to allow us to temporarily use this new facility to support our COVID-19 response and take pressure off other hospitals in the region. It's these kinds of innovative partnerships that make a world of difference in our fight against this deadly virus."

Initially, Mackenzie Health's Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will provide a total of 185 beds, including more than 35 critical care beds and 150 general medicine beds, which will support patients from other hospitals and alleviate hospital capacity pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once COVID-19 capacity pressures have stabilized, the new hospital will provide care and services to patients from across the western York Region as originally planned, including emergency and modern surgical services, and offer advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities, intensive care beds, medicine, birthing, pediatrics and mental health services, as well as the York Region District Stroke Centre.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario's government has been working with its hospital partners to create unprecedented capacity and be ready to respond to any scenario. The province invested an additional $2.5 billion in the hospital sector this year, and the new beds announced today are in addition to the more than 3,100 beds funded by the province as part of its COVID-19 response.

"Our government is using every tool at our disposal to support our hospitals as they respond to COVID-19," said Health Minister and deputy premier Christine Elliott. "This new funding will help to alleviate capacity pressures being faced by hospitals, allowing our health care system to work more seamlessly and effectively to keep Ontarians safe. We will continue to work together with all our hospitals and health care partners to care for those affected by this deadly virus."