Hospitals with ICU beds in our region have been asked to help with critical care and COVID-19 patient transfers from Southern Ontario. But Notre Dame Hospital in Hearst CEO Liza Fortier says officials been told by the Ontario Hospital Association that it’s unlikely there would be patients transferred this far north, as they do their best to keep them closer to loved ones.

“Toronto that may be Barrie, from Ottawa that could be Cornwall or something like this,” she said. “They will try to keep the patient as close as possible to their home location. If that is not a possibility because those ICUs are also full then they will go to the next closest city.”

Hearst doesn’t have an ICU unit and Fortier says it’s important for them to keep stressing the public health protocols because those requiring intensive care would be sent to other hospitals like Kapuskasing or Timmins.

Fortier says that Hospitals in this area that don’t have Intensive Care Unit could be ready to help other facilities in other ways. She adds that plans are in the works to generate mobile teams that can be sent out in a moment’s notice.

“For whomever needs more help staffing wise,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s nursing, staffing, physio, labs, x-rays like diagnostic imaging, this is how we can help from the smaller centres.”