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Jewish General Hospital designated to treat any coronavirus patients

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The Jewish General Hospital’s Pavilion K house 87 negative pressure rooms for the isolation of infectious patients.

Adult patients with the coronavirus in Montreal will be treated at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) should any cases arise, the Quebec government announced.

The JGH is one of two hospitals in the city designated by the health ministry to receive such patients. Hôpital Ste-Justine (CHU Sainte-Justine) will be responsible for admitting children with the disease.

At the time of writing, no coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the province nor are there any suspected cases under investigation.

JGH spokesperson Carl Thériault said the hospital was chosen because it has the most negative pressure rooms of any health-care institution in Montreal and is well regarded for its expertise in infectious diseases.

There are 87 such rooms in the JGH’s critical-care building Pavilion K, which opened in 2016, but was in the planning phase long before that.

“After SARS, it was felt it would be a good thing to have these rooms,” Thériault said.

These specially ventilated rooms are used for the isolation of patients with airborne contagious diseases. Their lower atmospheric pressure allows air to flow into the room, but the possibly contaminated air does not escape into other parts of the hospital.

The JGH’s infectious diseases department, under headed by Dr. Karl Weiss, has grown significantly over the past decade in response to the rise of such new health concerns as West Nile virus, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and so-called superbugs.

The designation of the JGH and Ste-Justine as treatment centres, as well as two hospitals in Quebec City, is part of the government’s preparedness plan for any incidence of the coronavirus in the province, said Minister of Health Danielle McCann.

All health-care establishments and medical clinics in Quebec are ready to receive people who suspect they have the coronavirus, she said. If they require hospitalization, they will be transferred to one of the designated institutions.

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