Hawkesbury council approved a recommendation from administration to accept a request from the Hawkesbury & District General Hospital (HGH) for use of the Robert Hartley Sports Complex as an “alternate health facility” should a second wave of infections occur during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the sports centre is closed to all public recreation and other community uses as part of the provincial government’s emergency public health orders for dealing with the COVID-19 situation. The agreement between the town and HGH would allow the sports complex to become a temporary hospital shelter “should there be a second wave of the virus” and only if the hospital needs the extra space for “minor cases” where people are positive for the disease but their condition is not so serious that they require bed space in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Use of the sports complex as a temporary hospital shelter for minor cases of COVID-19 would allow HGH to keep bed space available for patients with other medical needs, including surgery.
The provincial government gave approval March 26 under the Public Hospitals Act for all Ontario hospitals to make plans for use of suitable buildings as temporary hospital shelters if the number of COVID-19 patients proved greater than the available hospital bed space. In its plan, HGH identified the sports centre as one of two possible sites for a temporary hospital shelter.
HGH would have access to the sports complex within five days notice to the town of need to use the facility as a temporary hospital shelter. The arena area would serve for medical equipment storage, the running track/auditorium area as the patient care centre, and the building’s other facilities for patient support, including meal preparation and other needs, and also for use by the on-site nursing and doctor staff.
If the sports complex was called into use as a temporary hospital shelter, HGH would be responsible for building maintenance, cleaning, along with medical and other waste collection and disposal during the period of service.
HGH would also be responsible for insurance coverage of the building and parking area for the duration of its use. Any alterations to the facility to make it suitable as a hospital shelter would be temporary and HGH would cover the cost for those alterations.
The hospital would have use of the complex at no cost as a temporary health facility. When the sports complex is no longer needed as a temporary shelter, HGH would make sure the premises are cleaned and disinfected prior to the building reopening for general public use.