Canadian provincial and municipal leaders are preparing makeshift hospitals to house COVID-19 patients in the event the pandemic overwhelms existing hospital capacity.
The move comes as countries in Europe and states like New York have commandeered vast spaces normally reserved for conferences or sporting events to house the thousands of patients sickened by COVID-19. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday it would build 10,000 hospital beds in New York City, a global hotspot for the virus, by converting hotel rooms and college dormitories into makeshift care facilities.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also building eight temporary hospitals and putting beds in places like the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan as the flood of cases — there are at least 29,766 cases in the city alone — overwhelms existing facilities.
But leaders in Canada are not waiting for such a spike to have alternatives in place to either quarantine patients with milder symptoms or, as is the case in Laval, Que., to house patients with other conditions leaving existing hospitals for COVID-19 patients.