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Work begins on temporary emergency department expansion at Guelph General

Expansion in response to pandemic, with an eye toward flu season
20201030 Guelph hospital temp structure RV
Preparation are being made for a temporary structure outside Guelph General Hospital's emergency department. Richard Vivian/GuelphToday

Preparations are underway for temporary expansion of Guelph General Hospital’s emergency department, in response to pandemic-related space requirements and in anticipation of flu season.

On Thursday, crews began prepping an area in front of the emergency department – a grassed section between the driveway and the road – to house a temporary, 36-foot-by-60-foot structure where registration, triage and a waiting room will be offered. This, explained hospital spokesperson Perry Hagerman, will allow renovations to “expand the number of care surfaces” within the department to go ahead.

The structure is expected to arrive next week and take about two weeks to connect with hospital infrastructure such as water and electricity.

“The goal is to provide additional space to achieve the new standards required due to COVID-19 – something which is paramount to the safety of both patients and staff. These standards require we design the space in a way that maintains physical distancing and create adequately sized, negative-pressure, resuscitation rooms,” states a post on the hospital’s website.

The current waiting area will be converted into a seated patient treatment area, with cleanable partition walls that create four patient bays for people requiring intravenous therapies and/or blood transfusions.

“We are aiming to have this project complete as soon as possible in preparation for the potential second wave of COVID-19 and flu season,” notes the online post.

The inside renovations include conversion of the emergency department’s x-ray room into a “negative-pressure trauma and resuscitation room” to handle patients who are suspected of or have tested positive for COVID-19.

In turn, the x-ray equipment will be moved to the existing booking office, which was designed with lead-lined walls and can accommodate that use.