Lambton testing ramps up with new Petrolia and mobile centers, province doubles ICU beds with respirators

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Bluewater Health graphic showing the progression of the number of people in hospital with COVID-19.

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, says the county is getting enough supplies to give people even with mild novel coronavirus symptoms a test.

In a news conference this morning, Ranade told reporters since the arrival of COVID-19 in Lambton in late March, public health officials have had a hard time getting the testing swabs. Now those supply chains have opened up.

Lambton Public Health and Bluewater Health have opened up two rural testing areas including one in Petrolia and a new mobile unit.

Ranade says people with symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their family doctor who will refer them to one of the testing centers.

Ranade says doctors have be “very, very willing to refer patients” to the testing centers but there were simply not enough tests available.

Thursday, public health says 128 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 11 have died. Two long term care homes, Landmark Village and Lambton Meadowview Villa, have outbreaks – one employee in Petrolia tested positive for the virus this week.

See https://petrolialambtonindependent.ca/2020/04/15/meadowview-employee-who-provided-direct-care-to-residents-tests-positive-for-covid-19/

Thirty eight people are now in hospital in Sarnia – 23 have tested positive for the virus, 11 are waiting test results.

Projections of how COVID-19 would advance across the province were released last week but many public officials have been cautiously optimistic social distancing measures are working as the number of people in hospital fighting the virus is much lower than anticipated.

Public Health Ontario reports 807 people have been hospitalized across the province as of Thursday morning with 248 in intensive care units.

The province’s original estimates put the number of people in ICU over 1,200 in the best case or 1,600 in the worst case by April 16.

While the numbers look good, Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province is still preparing for the worst.

Hospitals across the province have taken steps to make more beds available for COVID-19 patients, she says. Ontario has a total of 20,354 acute care beds with a potential for an additional 4,205 more acute care beds by April 30. Of Ontario’s 3,504 critical care beds, 2,811 are now equipped with ventilators, up from 1,319 when the outbreak first started.

“We haven’t hit the peak yet; we continue to plan to be ready,” she told reporters. “We’re waiting to see what’s happening…because we are doing more testing, we are seeing and increased number of cases…we’re in a holding pattern to see where this will go.

“We’re still planning for an incrase in numbers; I hope we don’t have to use them, but they are there if people need them,” says Elliott.