A student residence at the University of Waterloo could soon become an off-campus hospital unit for Grand River Hospital.
St. Paul’s University College has agreed to make 84 rooms at the Green Wing residence available to the hospital until the end of June.
It’s the first of what’s expected to be a number of announcements in the coming weeks, as the hospital negotiates with area groups including hotel operators and universities to house patients who require what’s known as an “alternative level of care.”
Alternative level of care patients are typically waiting to be transferred to another care setting and no longer require acute care in hospital, the university said in a release.
Grand River Hospital is trying to secure up to 2,000 beds at various locations to serve hospitals in Waterloo region and Wellington County.
Ron Gagnon, the president and chief executive officer of Grand River Hospital says he hopes the hospital won’t need to use the rooms.
“We’re working with a number of different parties in town, including hotels, university residences and also looking at larger complexes as well to help meet the needs for a range of patients,” said Gagnon.
“[Green Wing] speaks to the lower acuity alternate level of care, people that are COVID negative going into that site.”
The hospital will care for the patients as they transfer to the residence, and hospital-level cleaning staff will be hired, the university said in a news release.
Richard Myer, the principal at St. Paul’s, said the idea was put into action after students vacated the dorms.
“We realized, ‘Well, we’re going to have to shut the residence down for the summer.’ I thought, ‘I’ve got 84 hospital rooms here, they might be of value in some way.'”
“We’re essentially turning that building over to the hospital and they will operate it in accordance with their own protocols and standards.”