SUDBURY -- As Sudbury's hospital continues to develop contingency plans on how it will respond to an increased number of cases of COVID-19, Health Sciences North is finding increased support from College Boreal.

On Wednesday, HSN announced it had secured the Clarion Hotel, located in downtown Sudbury, as an alternative care site, in order to prioritize hospital resources for serious cases of COVID-19.

College Boreal has announced it is donating 19 beds, along with patient overhead tables and CPR boards.

"We wanted to help our community," said Kim Morris, dean of College Boreal's School of Health Sciences. "This is where we live as well. We work and live here, and our kids go to school here and whatnot. College Boreal has always had that focus, and for us, this was just normal to proceed and help in any way possible."

In the arrangement, three floors of the Clarion Hotel will be used for up to 95 alternative level of care (ALC) patients, HSN President and CEO Dominic Giroux announced Wednesday in a teleconference.

"Our first priority would be our alternative level of care patients. So, ALC patients, who are waiting for assisted living," said Giroux. "We would also prioritize our ALC patients waiting for support at home or waiting for a bed in rehabilitation. The last priority patient population for transfer would be ALC patients who are waiting for long-term care."

In order to help increase necessary staffing resources, College Boreal has been asked to provide names of upcoming graduates of its practical nursing program and its PSW program for an escalated hiring process.

"The students have been there to do placements in the past," said Morris. "The students have been with us for two years, but they've been to HSN, St. Joe's, St. Gabe's Villa to do the placement. They know the placement area and also the staff knows our students. So, they know what they're capable of and that’s why they've extended this offer to our students."

With the hospital, along with others throughout the province, facing a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), the school is also donating a large supply to the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) including:

  • 2,000 N-95 masks
  • 3,000 isolation gowns
  • 3,000 gloves
  • A supply of face shields and goggles

Giroux says the hospital has seen an outpouring of support from the community.

"We have been overwhelmed with community offers for PPE and we really appreciate the expression of solidarity to the hospital," said the hospital CEO.

Giroux says the hospital is diligently monitoring its usage of PPE while ensuring frontline staff are well taken care of.

"I know speaking to our frontline care providers daily that they want some assurances that there will be the appropriate supply in the coming days and weeks, and that's why we have been very diligent in ensuring the sound usage of current PPE supply following the directions from the chief medical officer of health," said Giroux.

HSN has set up an email dedicated to any community donations of PPE.

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