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A digital Intensive Care Unit room at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in Vaughan, Ont. on Jan. 18, 2021.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

A new hospital opening north of Toronto today will spend the first phase of its existence as a dedicated treatment hub for COVID-19 patients and a centre officials hope will add intensive care capacity to Ontario’s strained health-care system.

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in Vaughan, Ont., won’t immediately open for full service, according to operator Mackenzie Health.

Instead, the new facility will focus on its 35 ICU beds and 150 general internal medicine beds, which are currently earmarked for COVID-19 patients.

Ontario to open dedicated pandemic hospital in Vaughan as COVID-19 surges

Mackenzie Health says that while the new hospital focuses on expanding intensive care capacity, its emergency department remains closed until the province’s health-care system stabilizes.

Other programs, such as women’s and children’s health, inpatient mental health and inpatient stroke treatments, will stay based at nearby Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.

Vaughan mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua says Cortellucci Vaughan is the first newly built hospital in Ontario in more than 30 years, and the 11-hectare health centre will create about 1,000 jobs on the path to eventually opening as a full-service health-care facility

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital just opened and pivoted to alleviate the pressure of COVID-19 on Toronto-area hospitals. If one of Ontario's 325 critically-ill COVID-19 patients arrives here, this is what their experience could look like.

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