COVID-19 patients are the first to access new Vaughan hospital that opened Sunday

The plan is to ease the strain on hospitals in York Region and Toronto

The first patients to go through the doors at the new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital (CVH) on Sunday all had something in common — they have COVID-19.

The facility on Major Mackenzie Drive rejigged its opening plan by accepting COVID-19 patients to ease the burden on hospitals in York Region and Toronto, and to assist the provincial health system which has been grappling with the cancellation of elective procedures due to the pandemic.

The decision has meant other parts of the hospital will not be opening up right away, such as mental health, emergency and maternity.

CVH will start with 35 intensive care patients and 150 acute care beds. The hospital was designed for 342 beds.

There were 926 COVID patients in provincial hospitals as of Sunday, which is the lowest tally since Dec. 21, just days before the Boxing Day lockdown began.

Construction of CVH began in 2016, eight years after the hospital was approved.

Banner picture: Cortelluci Vaughan Hospital (\Mackenzie Health)