Guelph General Hospital in Canada has announced plans to expand its emergency department (ED) to cater to potential second wave of Covid-19 patients, as well as those with seasonal influenza.

Opened in 2001-2002, the ED was designed to accept a projected volume of 45,000 annual visits, which have averaged more than 60,000 over the past six years, indicating the need for additional space.

The new ED space will consider physical distancing, and is set to feature negative-pressure, resuscitation rooms. It will be built as part of a series of renovation projects.

Currently, refurbishment of the ED’s existing x-ray room is underway to transform it into a new negative-pressure trauma and resuscitation room.

The new room will allow safe resuscitation of patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19. The hospital will transfer x-ray equipment to the existing booking office in Diagnostic Imaging.

In the parking spaces, a temporary structure will be built as the public’s entry point for the ED. The prefab structure will house registration, triage and the main waiting room.

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Expected to arrive in the first week of November, the structure will require approximately two weeks to link with the hospital’s infrastructure.

After the structure begins operations, the current waiting room, triage and registration areas in the ED will be reformed.

The See and Treat area will be moved to the current main waiting room, triage and registration area, and the freed up space will be included in the acute area of the ED.

This is anticipated to decrease the need to care for patients on stretchers in the hallway of the ED’s acute zone.

In addition, the current See and Treat waiting area will be made into a seated patient treatment area. Partition walls will be placed to create four bays for patients who need intravenous therapies and/or blood transfusions.

Guelph General is working to obtain government approval to expand the ED by building out from the hospital.