New Brunswick preparing for anticipated spike in COVID-19 cases
MONCTON, N.B. -- Already-busy hospitals across New Brunswick are preparing themselves for a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Health authorities are considering alternate locations for assessment centres, including the Moncton Coliseum.
"I think it would be a good idea considering the fact that there's other people out there, even seniors, that would benefit," said Moncton resident Annette Cormier.
With some of the anticipated overcrowding at city hospitals, Horizon Health Network confirmed both they and Vitalite Health network are examining the feasibility of establishing a second COVID-19 assessment centre at the large hockey arena.
In a statement, Horizon said in part: "We would like to be clear, this location is currently only being examined as a possible assessment centre should the need arise, and would in no way function as a hospital of any kind."
Doctors around the province say hospitals can't properly accommodate a large spike in patients.
"Countries everywhere are not prepared for the volume of sick patients we're seeing and therefore they're having to find other spaces to treat people," said Dr. Chris Goodyear, the New Brunswick Medical Society president.
In an earlier message from Goodyear while he was working on the frontlines, he emphasized the need to stay home in a video posted to Twitter.
"I know it's not easy, but for the sake of everyone working here at the hospital the nurses, doctors, orderlies, everybody working, it's certainly important to us that you maintain your isolation," Goodyear said.
If the coliseum were to see more patients as an assessment centre, some residents say it would provide relief.
"It definitely gives a lot more people options and gives nurses a chance to breathe," said Moncton resident Tyler Cormier.
Health officials say they've been anticipating the overcrowding and have been trying to empty the hospitals as much as possible.
"For example, the alternate level of care patients are currently being placed elsewhere," Goodyear said. "We have cut down overall on the number of elective surgeries in our hospital so that only cancer surgeries and really urgent cases are getting done."
Goodyear says he expects a shift in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, from those who have traveled abroad, to new community-acquired infections. He also thinks that a spike is on the way.