Peterborough Regional Health Centre says it’s preparing for a surge of patients due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday morning during a media conference call, Dr. Lynn Mikula, the hospital’s vice-president, chief medical executive and chief of staff, said the hospital currently has three patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There are also 24 other inpatients still waiting on test results after initially showing symptoms of COVID-19, she said.

Mikula says staff are “working around the clock” but are also “waiting with bated breath” to see what the next week or two will bring with coronavirus cases. Currently, there are 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Peterborough area, according to Peterborough Public Health.

“We are preparing for and expecting a surge of patients,” said Mikula. “We know that as COVID-19 spreads, it tends to spread from the more populated urban areas and out. We know in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) they are already experiencing a surge so we are expecting it to make its way out here.

“It’s hard to say exactly when or exactly what the magnitude will be.

“But this is the main focus of our preparations to make sure that we are ready to cope with the surge if or when it comes — and we do believe it will come.”

Mikula noted the hospital is working to create “unconventional” spaces for more patients in case the need arises. The hospital typically operates at or just above capacity, she said, but is currently operating at 80 per cent capacity thanks to steps to reduce that number.

Mikula noted the hospital’s assessment centre has been “running smoothly” and that the emergency department remains open for other patients.

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