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Ontario Adding Over 500 Hospital Beds to Expand Critical Care Capacity

Mackenzie Health’s New Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital to Support Short-Term Pandemic Response
Jan. 19, 2021

The Ontario government is providing up to $125 million to immediately add over 500 critical care and high intensity medicine beds to hospitals in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission. A portion of the funding will also be used to temporarily transition Mackenzie Health's Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital into a systemwide resource supporting the province's COVID-19 response when the new hospital is scheduled to open on February 7, 2021. These initiatives will help relieve pressures on nearby hospitals due to rapid increases in hospitalization and ICU occupancy rates.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

"The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is the first newly built hospital in three decades and this net new capacity will be critical until we are in a position to widely administer vaccines across the province," said Premier Ford. "I want to especially thank Mackenzie Health for stepping up to allow us to temporarily use this new facility to support our COVID-19 response and take pressure off other hospitals in the region. It's these kinds of innovative partnerships that make a world of difference in our fight against this deadly virus."

Initially, Mackenzie Health's Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will provide a total of 185 beds, including over 35 critical care beds and 150 general medicine beds, which will support patients from other hospitals and alleviate hospital capacity pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Once COVID-19 capacity pressures have stabilized, the new hospital will provide care and services to patients from across the western York Region as originally planned, including emergency and modern surgical services, and offer advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities, intensive care beds, medicine, birthing, pediatrics and mental health services, as well as the York Region District Stroke Centre.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario's government has been working with its hospital partners to create unprecedented capacity and be ready to respond to any scenario. The province invested an additional $2.5 billion in our province's hospital sector this year, and the new beds announced today at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital and across the province are in addition to the more than 3,100 beds funded by the province as part of its COVID-19 response.

"Our government is using every tool at our disposal to support our hospitals as they respond to COVID-19," said Minister Elliott. "This new funding will help to alleviate capacity pressures being faced by hospitals, allowing our health care system to work more seamlessly and effectively to keep Ontarians safe. We will continue to work together with all our hospitals and health care partners to care for those affected by this deadly virus."

To further support frontline health care workers caring for patients during the pandemic, Ontario has also amended O. Reg 74/20 (Work Redeployment for Certain Health Services Providers) in response to the increasing demands on hospitals and retirement homes. The amended order will allow hospitals to temporarily redeploy health care workers to other hospitals or retirement homes that urgently need additional support. The order was previously amended to allow hospital staff to temporarily work in long-term care homes.

The province continues to work with its hospital partners to further enhance capacity as required.

Quick Facts

"When Mackenzie Health opens Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in February, our exclusive focus will be on creating new capacity for critical and general medicine beds to provide relief for the current surge in critical and acute care volumes brought on by the pandemic. Opening Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital was always intended to be a tangible solution to ending hallway medicine. Although it will be a very different opening than we had anticipated and committed to our staff, physicians and community, we’re prouder than ever to play a significant role in supporting the province’s overstretched health care system as we all work together to fight COVID-19. Operations at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital will continue as they are until the system has stabilized and we are able to fully realize our two-hospital future."

- Altaf Stationwala
President and Chief Executive Officer, Mackenzie Health

"In a few short weeks, the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will open its doors to address the critical need for ICU beds in this Province, at a time when it is so desperately needed. The City of Vaughan remains committed to working together with the Province, public health officials and citizens to stop the spread, save lives, and protect our hospitals' capacity. The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is a cornerstone of our city-building efforts and demonstrates what can be achieved when we work together. I want to thank Premier Ford and his government, as well as hospital staff and front-line workers, for their continued leadership in addressing the evolving challenges facing Ontarians since the onset of this pandemic."

- Maurizio Bevilacqua
Mayor, City of Vaughan

"The Vaughan community is stepping up in a big way to literally help save lives, and I could not be more proud of our city and grateful to our families. The front-line staff at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will play a pivotal role in our fight against COVID-19. With this new hospital and the acceleration of the vaccine rollout in York Region, this is a fight I know we will win."

- Stephen Lecce
MPP for King-Vaughan

"During this critical moment in our fight against COVID-19, this investment towards these new beds will ensure that we can help alleviate pressures on our hospitals and health care system, while providing the highest-quality care to the people and families affected by this deadly virus. From world-class medical technologies to highest-quality mental health and addictions care, the opening of the new Cotellucci Vaughan Hospital will help save lives not only during this global pandemic, but right here in our community for generations to come."

- Michael Tibollo

MPP, Vaughan-Woodbridge