PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — Local hospitals are getting $2 million from the province to help deal with COVID-19.
In Parry Sound-Muskoka, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare will receive $1,119,642 and West Parry Sound Health Centre will receive $ 1,006,394 for 2020/21 through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund.
Ontario is investing $175 million this year to address critical upgrades, repairs and maintenance in 129 hospitals across the province, including $50 million for COVID-19 related and other urgent projects. Through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund, this funding will help hospitals maintain their infrastructure and ensure a safe and comfortable environment for patients to receive care.
“I am pleased to see our government invest in our local hospitals,” said Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norman Miller. “For years we have been fighting for fair funding for small and medium sized hospitals and earlier this year Minister Elliott announced new annualized funding that recognizes the challenges faced by medium sized hospitals. This increased funding for capital maintenance expenses is another example that Minister Elliott understands the needs of our local hospitals.”
Natalie Bubela, CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, explained this funding would be used to address the need for physical distancing related to COVID-19: “With the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing requirements throughout the hospitals and the need for more private isolation rooms have been particularly challenging in our aging, space-constrained sites in Bracebridge and Huntsville. Dedicated dollars for investments in facility upgrades are critically necessary.
“Through this much-needed infrastructure renewal funding, MAHC’s facilities are better positioned to respond to COVID surges. Physical changes have varied from creating more negative pressure isolation rooms to retrofitting and expanding waiting areas and other spaces that have historically occupied smaller footprints.”
“This annual capital project funding from the provincial government is welcome news at a time when our health centre is facing extreme financial pressures. We are very thankful for this announcement. The money directly supports patients and our team members by allowing us to upgrade, repair, and replace structures and systems that are required for our delivery of safe, quality care,” said West Parry Sound Health Centre CEO Donald Sanderson.
“Maintaining hospital infrastructure is another example of how our government is ensuring that Ontarians have access to health care services they can depend on, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“Our ongoing investments to support essential projects like repairing roofs and windows and adding more isolation spaces can make a big difference to a patient’s experience. It’s part of our plan to build the capacity we need to end hallway health care in Ontario.”
As the government continues to work toward bringing Ontario’s world class health care system into the 21st century, this funding will help hospitals address urgent issues such as upgrades or replacement of roofs, windows, security systems, backup generators and fire alarms. Projects will also support the hospitals in their ongoing response to COVID-19, such as updating HVAC systems to enhance patient and staff safety, creating additional isolation space and negative air pressure flow rooms to increase capacity and enhancing infection prevention and control measures.