SAH takes COVID-19 patients from out of town

Sault Area Hospital

With the provincial health system having 2,360 individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 and 773 of those in the Intensive Care Unit, the province is moving patients around trying to find more room.

In a tweet yesterday from Dr. Michael Warner, a Toronto doctor who is treating patients with COVID-19, he told the public the Province of Ontario moved 28 COVID+ patients to various hospitals. He also estimated the province is spending approximately $21 million daily in ICU care.

A second tweet put out this morning says another 27 patients are on the move, including a second patient to SAH from Southern Ontario.

One of the transfers on the list was a COVID+ patient going from Royal Victoria Regional Hospital in Barrie, Ontario to Sault Area Hospital. The second is coming from Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley.

Yesterday’s Posted transfer sheet by Dr. Michael Warner.
Today’s sheet posted by Dr. Warner.

In the past when asked about accepting patients, Sault Area Hospital Communications Director Brandy Sharp Young said that SAH is part of a larger system.

“Every day the Ontario Critical Care Command Centre meets to assess all ICU bed inventory across the Province. Their work is to determine areas of need and areas of availability to ensure patients receive the care they require.”, said Sharp Young.

“SAH, as part of the provincial system, is open to accepting patients when called upon.  Patients who may be transferred to SAH could be patients with COVID-19 or without COVID-19.  At this time, SAH has accepted patients from outside of Algoma. Due to confidentiality and privacy, we do not disclose the status of the condition of patients.”

Patient confidentiality doesn’t seem to be an issue in Windsor, Ontario. According to an article in a local Windsor newspaper, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital David Musyj says they have accepted COVID-19 patients from the GTA.

“We said let’s look at this through a different lens,” said Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj. “How can we help, because we have the capacity?”

“Patients who can travel in EMS, are more stable and don’t require critical care or ORNGE — our EMS can go pick them up and bring them back,” he continued.

According to the article, Windsor received their first two COVID-19+ cases last week.

Given the increasing number of ICU patients, SAH will probably be utilized more in order to help the province manage the situation.

Saultonline reached out to Sault Area Hospital for additional comments and a short time later the following press release was issued:

Sault Area Hospital to receive patient transfers from outside Algoma

SAH has been notified by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre and the Ontario Critical Care Command Centre to expect critical care patient transfers from across the Province. Our capacity has been expanded to support this work.
At this time, SAH has a planned admission for a COVID-19 positive patient from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).  SAH expects to receive 1-2 patients a day depending on critical care capacity in our hospital.  Patients transferred to SAH could be patients with COVID-19 or without COVID-19.  
SAH, along with partners from across the region and the Province, continue to plan for the management of a surge in COVID-19 patients, and the implementation of any needed escalating response actions will be determined by overall capacity pressures at the local, regional, and provincial health-system levels. To date, SAH has continued to provide all elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures. We will continue to monitor our overall capacity and are committed to informing the community of any changes.
SAH values our partnerships with hospitals across Ontario. We are committed to working collaboratively to provide excellent patient care while balancing our provincial health care system capacity. 
Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Algoma are reported on Algoma Public Health’s website.

Stay with SaultOnline as we keep you posted on the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma.


  1. My question is, will the addition of these out of town CASES add to the number of CASES listed in Algoma. Example… If we have 40 CASES and 2 more are brought in from out of town, will it be added to the number of CASES in Algoma. Meaning “oh no the CASES in Algoma have risen. We’ll have to put Algoma under stricter restiction”

    • Patients (cases) which are transferred to the Sault are not included in our numbers. If you look at APH status, those cases are displayed in brackets with a note explaining they are from outside Algoma.

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