Vancouver Coastal Health mobilizes an alternate care site

VANCOUVER Coastal Health (VCH) – in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Providence Health Care, Health Emergency Management BC, the Canadian Red Cross and B.C.’s Mobile Medical Unit – is mobilizing an alternate care site at the Vancouver Convention Centre, as part of its COVID-19 preparedness planning.  While VCH continues to be cautiously optimistic that the COVID-19 curve can be flattened, precautionary steps continue to be taken, including setting up an alternate care site, as part of the pandemic response.

The purpose of the alternate care site is to add more bed capacity for lower acuity, non-COVID-19 patients to allow additional capacity within regional hospitals for critically ill COVID-19 patients who may need access to our critical care units.

The alternate care site will increase health-care capacity across the province, augment existing hospital infrastructure and provide additional bed capacity across VCH and the province.

A VCH medical director and operations lead will be at the site to oversee transfers to and from the site, provide medical oversight and support an interdisciplinary team of health care providers including doctors, nurses, care aides and other clinical and non-clinical care providers.

The site will be ready April 8.

Bed Capacity

· The site will have a total capacity of 271 beds.

· Alternate care site will be operationally scalable (all beds will be set up and operationalized as demand dictates).

· Will be able to serve multiple patient populations.


· The focus of the alternate care site is to support a non-COVID patient population.

· Referred patients from rural and urban centres will triaged and be accommodated as appropriate.

· Patients will be directly transferred in from a referring hospital.

· In the event that a patient at the site needs it, they will be treated at the on-site Mobile Medical Unit and then transferred to a higher level of care at a regional hospital.

· The site will not be set up for walk-in patients. 

· Essential visitor restrictions currently in place at hospitals across B.C. will apply.


· Ministry of Health and B.C. Health Authorities

· The Canadian Red Cross is providing components of their national Emergency Response Unit along with technical personnel to assist in the setup and operation of this site.

· Health Emergency Management BC will provide support for set up logistics.

· Provincial Health Services Authority’s Mobile Medical Unit will be relocated to the site.