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Hospital opening delayed a week

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Rainy River residents are going to have to wait at least a week longer to use their new hospital, with the patient transfer date pushed back to April 12.

Hospital administrator Norma Elliott said plans originally were to move patients next week but “things are just not ready” yet.

Wayne Woods, CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc., said the delay occurred because a piece of equipment for the new hospital still hasn’t arrived yet.

“To my knowledge, it’s a nurse call system, which is a safety issue,” Woods noted. “[Patients] need to have the access to the nurse and the way to get that is by pushing the button that lights up a light in the hallway or rings the buzzer.

“We’re hoping delivery is next week,” he added.

Other than that, Woods said things are looking pretty good at Rainy River’s new hospital.

Emergency services will be closed from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on April 12 to allow for an easy transfer of patients from the old building into the new one.

Woods said ambulances still will be operating but would be bringing patients to the other hospitals in the district.

Once the patients are in the new hospital, work crews will dismantle what remains of the old one.

“They have to construct a new front entrance and they can’t construct that until the old building is out of the way,” Woods said.

“We hope to be all completed by the end of May or sometime in June,” he added. “The old building gone, the new front entrance landscaping done, all set for a grand opening in July.”

Hospital auxiliary member Laurene Hannam, who also was on the “Buy a Brick, Build it Quick” fundraising committee, said things are starting to get stirred up in town now that the new hospital is nearing its occupancy date.

“They’re all getting anxious to see the building,” she said. “And it’s a gorgeous structure. One we can certainly be proud of.”

“I think everybody’s waiting for it to open up,” echoed Larry Armstrong, co-chair of the fundraising committee. “I had an opportunity to go through it with the mayor [yesterday] morning and I’m very impressed.”

Armstrong said a few skeptics have commented about the delay but added they few and far between as the permanence of the new hospital seems to have “settled in.”

“We achieved what we set out to do and now we’re seeing it become a reality,” he noted.

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