Bluewater Health well positioned for potential pandemic surge

Bluewater Health April 25, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Bluewater Health is ready for a potential surge in patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communications Chief Julia Oosterman said the community has been very responsive to the steps they have taken including restricting most visitors, and limiting surgeries and procedures to create capacity for increased demand.

“The hospital right now is in a very good state of readiness,” said Oosterman. “That being said, we don’t know what tomorrow brings.”

Oosterman said they currently have 29 ventilators at the Sarnia site.

“It’s important to note, however, that we are part of a regional network, and indeed, part of a provincial network whereby if there are emergency services and supplies needed anywhere in the province, they can shift, and ebb and flow as does the demand,” she said.

The province enacted a temporary emergency order over the weekend that supersedes collective agreements and gives hospitals flexibility in redeploying staff.

“So we’re fortunate in Sarnia-Lambton, we have the ability to take this little bit of a lull-time that we’re in right now and we’re actually training our staff whom, for example, may have not worked on a ventilator in a while, we may give them a refresher course, we may do things like that.”

Oosterman said they’re also reaching out to healthcare workers, like nurses, for example, who may no longer work at the hospital, or who may have retired.

“We’re actually working to get licences reinstated, same is true with physicians. We are in a very lucky place in Sarnia-Lambton in that we’ve had a lot of people come forward and say ‘How can I help?'”

For further information visit the Bluewater Health website.

-With files from Colin Gowdy