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484 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 3E6

London developer ‘moved’ by COVID-19 fight offers property for hospital use

Marek Sutherland Video Journalist

Farhi sign
The Farhi Holdings sign is seen on the Wright Lithographing Building in London, Ont. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Daryl Newcombe / CTV London)

LONDON, ONT. — London developer Shmuel Farhi doesn’t mince words when speaking of the scope of the health crisis currently gripping the world.

“COVID-19 will be so devastating that in my mind, it will be worse than the great depression.”

With hospitals already feeling the strain on resources during the COVID-19 crisis, temporary sites like New York’s famed Central Park have been turned into field hospitals.

With a spike in cases expected in Ontario later this week or next, there are discussions of alternate sites, medical officer of health for Middlesex-London, Dr. Chris Mackie, says the region is in a good position to handle to spike.

“Hospitals are really scaling up to be able to meet the peak demand, [it’s] not clear how high that demand will be; so we won’t know until it hits.”

If there is more demand than hospitals can handle Shmuel Farhi has reached out and offered his 86,000 square foot fitness centre on Wellington Road near Highway 401 for use if needed.

“It’s a few minutes drive from Wellington and Commisioners, the major hospital and it’s not far from St. Thomas and it has easy access from the 401 and you have a lot of parking,” Farhi says.

Mackie says it is one of several offers, “We’ve had multiple offers from very credible landlords and facility operators, so all of those are being considered”

He adds the capacity in the southwest region should be able to handle the peak of cases expected in the first half of April.