RVH ready to boost ICU capacity if needed, but hopes it doesn’t come to that

Pandemic Response Unit helping to ease pressure on local health centre

ICU bed occupancy has surged across Ontario as we navigate our way through the third wave of COVID-19 and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) is working hard to take some of the pressure off the rest of the province.

The number of people with COVID-19 being treated in Intensive Care Units across the province reached an all-time high on Wednesday, with Critical Care Services Ontario saying there are 421 patients in ICU beds. There were 32 people admitted to ICUs across the province between Tuesday and Wednesday alone.


RVH has 16 Intensive Care Unit beds, and as of Wednesday morning, 13 were in use.

If required, the hospital says it can convert existing beds and hospital space for a total capacity of 37 ICU beds. It is hoped it never comes to that. However, the hospital continues to accept patients from outside the region to help ease the pressure on the health system entire.

Existing RVH hospital space can be converted to ICU should the need ever arise

“To date, we have accepted 93 patients from the GTA; in fact, we accepted two COVID-19 positive patients this week from Etobicoke and Mississauga,” said RVH Chief of Patient Flow Dana Naylor. “Of the patients from the GTA, they were a combination of medicine patients and COVID-19 positive patients from Credit Valley, Brampton Civic, Etobicoke, Southlake, Markham Stouffville, Mackenzie Health and Mississauga hospitals.”

“At this time, we have four transferred-in patients with three of those being in the Intensive Care Unit and one on our Respiratory (COVID) unit. Of those four, three are COVID-19 positive,” added Naylor.

The RVH Pandemic Response Unit just before its grand opening in November

Helping to take some heat off RVH’s ICU occupancy rate is the continued use of its temporary field hospital, the Regional Pandemic Response Unit (PRU). While it does not treat patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, it does allow the hospital to move non-COVID patients out of a hospital bed and into the field hospital. As of Wednesday, there were twelve patients in the PRU.

“Based on RVH’s capacity and capacity within our region, we continue to work with our partners across Simcoe Muskoka and in the GTA to ensure when a patient needs a hospital bed, they can have timely access to one,” concluded Naylor.