PHOTOS: Hospital Hands SportsPlex Keys Back To St. Clair College

Wednesday July 21st, 2021

Posted at 1:49pm

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Windsor Regional Hospital has turned the keys to the SportsPlex back to St. Clair College.

It was back on April 2nd, 2020, that the SportsPlex was turned over to the hospital to act as a field hospital to assist in the caring of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In barely over two weeks, the Sportsplex was transformed into a 100-bed hospital facility. WRH employees and professional staff worked at the Sportsplex in the same way that the hospital would staff a typical WRH in-patient unit. The first long-term care patients arrived on April 1st, 2020 with the last remaining patient returned to the home on June 13th, 2020.

“The SportsPlex has, truly but sadly, become hallowed ground. Fifty-three local citizens were admitted to the field hospital. That is just a remarkable coincidence because it meshed with the fifty-three years of St. Clair’s existence in our community. Tragically, sixteen of those patients succumbed to this terrible virus within its walls. We mourn them all and extend St. Clair’s deepest condolences to their family and friends,” said St. Clair President Patti France.

“At the same time, we recognize and celebrate the health-care heroes who served in this field hospital, the doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians, and support staff who both saved lives and comforted those who faced their final hours here. We, as a society, can never repay the debt we owe you for your dedication throughout this nightmare,” France said.

The facility was “paused” for clinical care so that it could be used again should the need arise throughout the pandemic. The Sportsplex was used as a two-day “drive-thru” COVID-19 Assessment Centre in August and then a daily testing centre through September and October. Two months later, on December 22nd, 2020, WRH inoculated its first local residents with the Pfizer vaccine, and the Sportsplex continued to operate as a vaccination centre until just last week. Vaccinations are now mainly being consolidated at the Devonshire Mall location.

“We simply could not have accomplished what we need to, through the course of this COVID-19 pandemic, without the generous donation of adequate space from our friends at St. Clair College,” said WRH President and CEO David Musyj. “Dozens of long-term care residents received vital health support there that gave many a chance to recover without infecting other residents and LTC staff. Later, thousands of individuals were tested for the virus and most recently, tens of thousands of Windsor-Essex residents became inoculated against this virus. We cannot understate how fortunate we were that St. Clair College was willing and ready to assist our community – this is a great partnership that our community can be proud of.”

Musyj said the hospital looks forward to the return of basketball and other athletic pursuits to the Sportsplex this fall.

“If St. Clair is ever again needed to contribute to the health and safety of our community in such a manner our expertise, our labour, our facilities rest assured, we will be here, and we will be volunteering such services before we are even asked,” France said.

By The Numbers:

  • 53 long-term care patients were treated at the Sportsplex, operating as a COVID-19 field hospital from April 18th, 2020 to June 13rd, 2020.
  • 7568 individuals were swabbed for COVID-19 tests in August, September and October when the Sportsplex was in use as a COVID-19 Assessment Centre
  • 112,777 vaccines were administered, involving 85,051 unique individuals

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