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Speaking at the Brampton Civic Hospital, Premier Ford said that the investment would create 766 new hospital beds at 32 hospitals and other health facilities across the province.
According to Toronto Public Health, up to 88 percent of all hospital beds are currently occupied when accounting for acute care beds. With the number of active coronavirus cases in the province rising, the government believes that the creation of new beds is important to “add more capacity for hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots such as Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York region,” according to the provincial press release. "It will also help those facing occupancy pressures and support the continuation of surgeries and procedures."
“It is very important for us to make sure that hospitals do have additional capacity for our COVID-19 patients, for our flu patients and also for people that need the surgeries and procedures that we had to postpone during the first wave," said Health Minister Christine Elliott. She also clarified that the government will be investing $45 million in home and community care to help alleviate the burden on hospitals.
“As we did during the first wave and during the summer we are continuing to build surge capacity,” Ford said. "We will spare no expense to protect the health and safety of the people in Brampton and across Ontario.”
The announcement was met with praise by Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO of the William Osler Health System, which serves Brampton and northern Etobicoke. "We greatly appreciate the government's investment in our hospitals as we work diligently to ensure the patients and communities we serve have access to the care they need," said Mohammad.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who was Ford's predecessor as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, also praised the announcement, calling it "good news for Brampton residents."
The investment comes as a part of the Ford government's fall preparedness plan, which includes more than $2.8 billion of additional funding towards extending surgery hours, expanding digital health services, and treating mental illness and addiction problems which have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Ford did not offer a timeline for the completion of the beds. Aside from promising 87 beds to the William Osler Health System, which serves Brampton and northern Etobicoke, he did not specify how the beds will be distributed.