SickKids Hospital in Toronto is opening an intensive care unit just for adults 40 and under with COVID-19.

The move comes in response to the recent increase of COVID-related intensive care admissions that has strained the adult healthcare system.

The eight-bed unit will be for previously healthy adults 40 years old and under with the virus.

The hospital made the announcement after being asked to consider admitting patients under 40 needing intensive care from other hospitals.

SickKids said patient transfers will only happen once certain hospitals in the GTA exhaust available capacity after activating their surge plans, and all potential transfers to neighbouring regions have been attempted.