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Glace Bay dialysis construction delayed

Work is continuing on the new dialysis unit at the Glace Bay Hospital, however it won't meet its original opening schedule of this spring. The work has been slowed by COVID-19 restrictions. It is now expected to be completed in the summer. CONTRIBUTED
Work is continuing on the new dialysis unit at the Glace Bay Hospital, however, it won't meet its original opening schedule of this spring. The work has been slowed by COVID-19 restrictions. It is now expected to be completed in the summer. CONTRIBUTED
GLACE BAY, N.S. —

The schedule for construction of a new renal dialysis unit at the Glace Bay Hospital has encountered setbacks that the Nova Scotia Health Authority is attributing to issues including social distancing regulations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to questions from the Cape Breton Post, health authority spokesperson Brendan Elliott indicated the unit, which had been expected to start receiving patients this spring, is now targeted for completion in the summer.

“The Glace Bay dialysis project is moving ahead as best it can during this difficult time,” Elliott wrote in a statement. “We are experiencing somewhat reduced workforce numbers and slower progress due to the effects of social distancing restrictions of the workers.”

Elliott added that members of the project team are doing their best to keep the project as close to schedule as possible.

The project is using the services of local contractor Joneljim, for both interior and exterior work.

Mark LeCouter, senior director for the CBRM health-care redevelopment, said in an October update on the project that, at that point, everything was on schedule, with no unforeseen circumstances or disruptions to the operation of the building.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal issued the tender for the unit’s construction last April, two years after the project was announced.

The estimated cost for construction of the unit is $7.2 million. Part of the project will be funded through a $1.7-million bequest from the estate of the late Thomas Peach of Glace Bay, who left the money with the intent of helping establish dialysis services in the community.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority says that reduced workforce numbers and slower progress due to the effects of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions has slowed the construction of the new dialysis unit at the Glace Bay Hospital. CONTRIBUTED
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says that reduced workforce numbers and slower progress due to the effects of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions have slowed the construction of the new dialysis unit at the Glace Bay Hospital. CONTRIBUTED

The provincial government will cover the remainder, including the cost of design work already completed.

The six-station satellite dialysis unit is being constructed on the main floor within an existing area located at the front of the hospital which formerly housed medical records.

As well, in the basement, a biomedical technical workshop, water treatment room and a new mechanical room are being constructed.

Work to the exterior of the building will include a new fire exit and stairs from the dialysis unit, some new curtain wall cladding and glazing, new exterior chiller, modifications to parking and walkway areas and some landscaping.

The new unit is intended to reduce pressure on the Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s dialysis unit in Sydney, cut down on travel time for many patients and accommodate the increasing number of patients requiring the treatment.

Because the construction is taking place at a functioning hospital, infection control was a significant consideration in the tender documents.

To prepare for the work, the former medical records area that will be home to the unit was cleared and isolated so it wouldn’t affect the rest of the building.

Glace Bay Hospital is a 63-bed in-patient facility. It provides services including diagnostic imaging, an emergency department, acute care in-patient services, adult day program, eye clinic, ambulatory care, pharmacy, physiotherapy, lab services and nutrition services.

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