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Construction begins on RVH Regional Pandemic Response Unit

Modular structure will house 70 beds in 8,250 square feet of space and be ready by June
2020-02-07 RVH RB 2
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre is located on Georgian Drive in Barrie's north end. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday
Construction is underway on a Regional Pandemic Response Unit (RPRU) at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH).

The approximately 70-bed, 8,250-square-foot modular structure will be located in the volunteer/visitor parking lot outside RVH’s Simcoe entrance. This temporary unit is a fully functional field hospital, professionally staffed and equipped to deliver safe, quality care and will be a regional asset if required.    

“Strict public health measures have successfully suppressed COVID-19 in Ontario, and while the first wave of the pandemic may have peaked, we know the virus is still very present in our community and a spike could develop at any time,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “The Regional Pandemic Response Unit will ensure we are prepared for a second wave of cases in Simcoe Muskoka and will provide insurance in the face of a very uncertain future.

"The best insurance is insurance you never have to use, but it should give area residents great comfort and confidence, knowing that if we experience a surge of COVID-19 cases, RVH is well-prepared to care for patients from across the region.”

The RPRU will be outfitted with modular walls for privacy and head walls with suction and oxygen, a call bell system for patient assistance, interprofessional stations and washrooms. The unit itself is very sturdy and can withstand high winds and snow loads. It will take about a month for BLT Construction Services to complete the unit, which should be ready, if needed, by early-June. Costs associated with the structure, equipment, staffing and infrastructure will be sponsored by Ontario Health with construction overseen by Infrastructure Ontario.

RVH is currently consulting with its hospital partners in Simcoe Muskoka to define the patient population, staffing and medical models to develop an effective regional resource.

“Having the Pandemic Response Unit at RVH will ensure limited bed capacity is not a barrier if patients in the region require hospital care,” says Charlotte Wallis, Chair, RVH Board of Directors. “The structure is part of a detailed capacity plan to ensure RVH has the space, equipment and healthcare workers to care for patients from across the region.”