COVID-19 field hospital to be located at the NEMI rec centre should the need arise

LITTLE CURRENT – A joint statement was issued Wednesday by Lynn Foster, CEO of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC), and Mayor Al MacNevin of the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands (NEMI) on the placement of a COVID-19 field hospital in the NEMI Recreation Centre in Little Current, should it become necessary.

The field hospital will care for those mild to moderately ill patients with COVID-19 requiring hospital admission while the MHC supports the critically ill COVID-19-infected patients as well as non-infected patients. This field hospital was initiated because the Regional Incident Command Centre has directed hospitals to prepare surge capacity plans inclusive of off-site field hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MHC has confirmed that they have an approval in principle for the location and that they are expecting a final approval in the coming days from the Regional Incident Command Centre. 

“The use of the field hospital will be activated by MHC if we exceed the capacity of the MHC emergency departments, inpatient units and the ability for our tertiary centre, including the possibility that Health Sciences North’s will no longer be able to accept patient transfers,” said Paula Fields, Vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer at the MHC. “MHC’s (Little Current site) close proximity to the facility allows for rapid, seamless transfer of patients between sites and also minimizes transit time between sites for the physicians and nurses.” 

MHC CEO Lynn Foster said, “The NEMI recreation centre allows for the required infection control safeguards and more readily meets our clinical and operational requirements than several of the other sites that we looked at. Although the field hospital will be administrated by MHC as a third site, we are still seeking support from all our collaborative partners and local health care agencies and we will be reaching out to them in the near future. We hope and pray that we will not need to open the centre, however we need to be prepared for every possibility.”

Ms. Foster also expressed her appreciation to the communities of Assiginack and M’Chigeeng for their willingness to host field hospital sites. 

Mayor Al MacNevin stated, “It is our sincere hope that this facility will not be needed, but council and I are fully prepared to bring whatever municipal resources are required to work with and assist the MHC during this pandemic. Our top priority is the safety of our citizens and ensuring that they have the services and care that they and their families need.”

The NEMI recreation centre is located at 9001 Highway 6 south in Little Current.