Manitoba looking for temporary low-acuity hospital sites during pandemic

By | April 7, 2020

The province is seeking places that could possibly act as alternative low-acuity care facilities for hospitals, in case the COVID-19 situation in Manitoba becomes more severe.

The province is searching for a maximum of eight facilities: four in Winnipeg and two each in Brandon and Thompson, according to a request for proposal issued on Friday.

The facilities in Winnipeg and Brandon must be able to accommodate 120 people, while those in Thompson must be able to accommodate 60 people, the RFP says.

The move is intended to make sure Manitoba is prepared for the possibility of an increase in COVID-19 cases, and to ensure Manitobans’ safety, should the situation become more severe, according to the province’s chief nursing officer.

Though more discussion is needed to determine exactly who might be using these facilities, Lanette Siragusa said generally, they’ll be used for patients who don’t necessarily have to be in hospital to receive care.

“Typically, [they’ll be used by] patients who are in the hospital who are waiting to go home, but maybe can’t go home because the home-care services aren’t in place or they need an IV and that’s not going to work if they’re rural and remote, or there’s some kind of risk factor in going home,” she said during Tuesday’s daily COVID-19 briefing.

“It could be that there are [COVID-19]-positive people, who are just getting through the end of their symptoms, and then they would be separated from non-[COVID-19].”

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Among the requirements listed in the RFP are the ability for the bidder to set up a unit within 24 to 28 hours, and the ability to provide biohazard receptacles, food services, linens and a panel system for separation.

Submissions also have to provide information on how bidders would facilitate cots, washrooms and security at the site.

As of Tuesday, Manitoba has 217 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19. There have been three deaths connected with the illness — the latest announced by health officials on Tuesday.

There are 12 people in hospital, six of whom are in intensive care, as of Tuesday.

Twenty-one people have recovered from the virus, provincial health officials said Tuesday.

This latest RFP was issued a couple of days after the province issued a RFP that sought hotels and modular housing to help Manitobans self-isolate.

A Winnipeg hotel was scheduled to open as an isolation centre this past weekend.The latest request for proposal closes on April 13.

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