Sault Area Hospital Update and COVID-19 Mobilization Efforts

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Our team has been working tirelessly to develop a comprehensive plan for COVID-19 in our hospital – monitoring, researching and implementing best practices from hard-hit areas around the globe. “Our focus is on keeping our patients and health care workers safe while ensuring we have the capacity to meet increasing demands,” says Wendy Hansson, President & CEO. “In collaboration with our partners, we have already created over 100 inpatient care spaces to ensure we are in an immediate state of readiness for a potential patient surge,” she adds. “We want to provide the community with reassurance that we have worked tirelessly to continue to create additional capacity both inside the hospital and in the community, allowing for a phased approach based on patient volumes.”

Our mobilization efforts have included:

  • Opening a COVID-19 Assessment Centre, in partnership with community partners.  The Assessment Centre is open 7 days per week 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.
  • Implementing enhanced screening for everyone entering the building and visitor restrictions
  • Dividing the hospital into sections with a clear separation between areas and a staged plan that will allow us to expand if needed to better manage our patients
  • Surge planning among areas of the hospital such as ED, ICU and the medical floors to coordinate the flow of patients in the building
  • Working to have adequate levels of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to ensure our staff, physicians, and patients have the critical supplies that will be required over the coming weeks
  • Expanding on plans already in place for offsite locations to provide additional capacity to deliver hospital and services in an emergency and phased situation. We have been actively working with the City and other community partners to identify and prepare specific offsite locations that will best serve and optimally manage the COVID-19 pandemic for our community.
  • As part of our surge planning, we will be moving patients to offsite locations, and many SAH clinics and outpatient services have already transitioned to offsite locations, creating capacity on the SAH site.
  • In addition to these efforts, the ED has expanded its capacity by erecting two large tents at the south entrance. All patients coming to the ED for care will proceed to Tent # 1 for initial screening and will then be directed accordingly by staff. The tents provide heating, lighting and flooring for patient comfort and will be disinfected and cleaned as per our infection control guidelines. We anticipate activating the tents for screening on Tuesday April 6, 2020, further activation will occur once specific thresholds are met, such as increased patient volume and increased admitted patients.

We urge our community to help their health care workers so they can help you:

  • Follow public health guidelines on social distancing and staying home
  • Practice proper respiratory etiquette (covering your nose/mouth when coughing or sneezing)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill
  • Stay home if you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness
  • Contact the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 705.759-3434, ext. 7152 if you have COVID-19 questions or symptoms

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank our community for their incredible support and their many expressions of thanks,” says Hansson. “I thank our experienced health care workers who show up every day, committed to providing the best care to our patients, and I am also grateful to our community, regional and provincial partners for their response, support and unwavering collaboration.  Working together, we will get through this extraordinary time.”

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