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RVH pandemic response unit being dismantled, moved to CFB Borden

Opened in November 2020 at the Barrie hospital, RVH says it cared for 1,231 patients in the 70-bed field hospital until March 2023
2020-11-09 RVH Field Hospital RB
The pandemic response unit at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre is shown in a file photo. | Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

The Barrie hospital's pandemic response unit (PRU) will soldier on at a different location. 

After fulfilling its use for funded patient care, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) says the PRU is being dismantled and relocated to CFB Borden, located about 20 minutes west of the city.

The 70-bed, 12,800-square-foot modular structure was built at RVH on Georgian Drive beginning in April 2020. The pre-engineered structure has been described as a four-season, fully functioning field hospital. Since June 2020, it has been located in RVH’s parking lot and connected to the hospital by an enclosed walkway.

It was originally constructed to ensure RVH was prepared for a second wave of cases in Simcoe-Muskoka. 

Professionally staffed and fully equipped, the unit served as a regional asset for RVH and partner hospitals — including Colllingwood General and Marine, Georgian Bay General Hospital, Muskoka Algonquin Health, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Stevenson Memorial Hospital — to meet capacity challenges during the pandemic.

In a news release, RVH says the PRU was "instrumental in our collective response to COVID-19" and the Greater Toronto Area incident management system directive.

"The unit enabled RVH to handle excess patient capacity. COVID patients, many critically ill, were cared for within the health centre, while the PRU saw medically stable patients with an estimated stay of three to five days," states the release. 

RVH says it cared for 1,231 patients in the PRU from November 2020 until COVID funding ended in March 2023.

“The PRU was an important resource for RVH and the region through the pandemic,” says Gail Hunt, RVH president and CEO. “We are pleased that this valuable public asset will see new life in service with our community partners at CFB Borden.”

The PRU will be relocated to CFB Borden to capitalize on a "great opportunity" to share surplus resources between government institutions to maximize their service, says RVH.

“This is a great moment demonstrating the strong bond between CFB Borden and RVH,” says Col. Jonathan Michaud, commander of CFB Borden and the Military Personnel Generation Training Group.

“This structure will help address our needs in Borden and will serve as a symbol of the importance of working together with our local partners for the betterment of our communities and institutions," Michaud added. "Our most sincere thanks to the team at RVH for the continued professional relationship and support to CFB Borden and the Canadian Armed Forces.”