Hospitals prepare care clinics for Ottawa’s COVID-19 patients if needed

OTTAWA — Care clinics are ready to open in Ottawa if needed to help support hospital operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ottawa Hospital medical director of emergency management Dr. Andrew Willmore told reporters on Thursday afternoon that it’s essential to have everything in place for when the need arises to help care for people.

“Care clinics are essentially assessment centres with an expanded scope, where we can actually provide an urgent care clinic, ambulatory assessment with diagnostic capabilities has been planned for,” said Dr. Willmore.

The Ottawa Hospital has worked with the Queensway-Carleton Hospital and Montfort Hospital to set up the facilities.

“These currently are ready to be opened if the need arises. We haven’t noticed an increase in our emergency department volumes yet,” said Dr. WIllmore, adding the departments have not been overwhelmed with patients to the point that would impact patient care and hospital operations.

“It’s really important at the beginning of our preparations for a pandemic surge that we get absolutely everything in place for open when the need arises.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Health has confirmed 32 cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa. Ottawa Public Health says it’s investigating 51 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Ottawa.

More than 4,000 people have been assessed by staff at the COVID-19 Community Assessment at Brewer Arena since it opened two weeks ago.  Dr. Willmore says the assessment centre has helped reduced volumes in hospital Emergency Departments.

A second COVID-19 assessment centre is available for people to be tested in Hawkesbury.

Dr. Willmore also announced a new community para-medicine model with paramedics across the region to provide outreach for long-term care facilities and retirement homes.

“Places where folks may have trouble getting to an assessment centre for testing, or places where vulnerable patients may require home care,” said Dr. WIllmore.

Details on plans to expand the community para-medicine model in the coming weeks will be announced soon.