Two COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized in the Greater Toronto Area have been transferred to Windsor Regional Hospital to relieve some of the strain.
Chief of Essex-Windsor EMS Bruce Krauter confirmed the transfer to CBC News Friday and said the patients arrived Thursday evening at Windsor Regional Hospital's Met Campus. The patients, according to Krauter, are both adults and are identified as acute COVID-19 positive.
He said he could not provide any additional details on the patients or the hospital they came from due to privacy concerns.
But Krauter says the patients weren't in critical care or the ICU. The move took place after Krauter says he was contacted by Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj Thursday.
At this time, Krauter said he might have to send staff on Saturday to transport another one or two COVID-19 positive patients.
"We're working on a process so that we can send an ambulance up to Toronto each day so that we can help relieve the pressure being felt in the Toronto area so that they have the ability to admit more critical or intensive patients within their facilities," Krauter said.
"We're kind of on standby I guess as the pressures mount in Toronto then they will call us and then the patient gets a bed in Windsor."
To pick up the patients, Krauter said he was able to fully staff two ambulances. The cost of the pickup he said is being fully funded by the province.
"It's not taking anything out of our current resources or current deployment," he said, adding that they are not using the region's ambulance or staff but are pulling from additional resource pools.
He said patient transfer services could do it but based on the acute care the patients require, it's better if paramedics are available for any complications that arise.
"There are some medical interventions that are completed during transport and there also is the risk that they could deteriorate with all the new variants going on right now, when people become COVID positive they are sick, very sick," he said.
The news comes days after Windsor-Essex hospitals put a pause on all non-urgent, elective surgeries as per provincial direction.
In a meeting last Friday, Musyj said despite Windsor-Essex not being impacted by a third wave the hospital was clearing its beds and preparing to help out other parts of the province.
"It's a provincial health-care system, our beds in Windsor-Essex are provincial beds," Musyj said last week. "We have to not only be able to help the province, but also, we have to remember, we're not totally immune to COVID."