Health leaders in Hamilton and Burlington paused on this, the anniversary of the declaration of a COVID pandemic in Canada to reflect on what this event has meant to their organizations and the community.
Eric Vandewall CEO of Joe Brant Hospital said, “COVID-19 also challenged and changed the way our healthcare system operates – breaking down barriers to take collective action. Over the past year, our staff and physicians, volunteers, and learners have adapted at an unprecedented pace to a rapidly changing environment. Each day brought new challenges, and together, new learnings and creative solutions developed that helped us to better respond to the pandemic and ensure that our patients received the best possible care. Our JBH teams rose to every challenge, from those providing direct patient care, to those working behind the scenes to ensure that JBH could continue to provide safe and quality care.”
Melissa Farrell, President of St Joes sounded an optimistic note as she thanked her staff, “At St. Joe’s, we have cared for 359 inpatients with COVID-19 in the past year, the first inpatient on March 17, the day our Premier declared the Emergency Order for Ontario. 70 patients with COVID-19 have died here. Those are statistics, far from representative of the courage, care and compassion you have given to these patients and their families, and each other. And I have hope. We have opened our West 5th Vaccine clinic to those most vulnerable 85 and older and elderly Indigenous peoples. Our long-term care and high-risk retirement homes have received first and second doses of the vaccine. And we are increasing the pace of getting vaccines into the arms of our patient-facing and critical-to-operations healthcare workers. A third wave may be coming, but we are in a far, far better place than we have been at any point in this past year to face it.”
The CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, Rob MacIsaac posted a video message in which he thanked the staff and reflected on the personal sacrifice made by front line health workers,
Dr. Elisabeth Richardson Medical Officer of Health, Hamilton Public Health Services, said, “As we mark one year of fighting this pandemic as a community, let us all continue in our commitment to protecting one another – stay home and get tested if you have symptoms, and continue following public health measures: physical distance, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently. A united Hamilton can beat this virus and vaccines for everyone who want one will ensure we as a community can come back stronger from this profoundly challenging time. Thank you to all Hamiltonians for your sacrifice and support of your neighbours.”
Paul Johnson, Director, Emergency Operations Centre, City of Hamilton commented as well, “Our community has faced significant challenges over the past year, but I am so grateful and proud of the ways we have worked together to protect our community and provide support to our most vulnerable populations. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our response efforts to date – whether you’re doing your part to stop the spread of the virus by staying home and keeping your distance from those outside your household, or you’re working the frontlines of this emergency day in and day out – I sincerely thank you for doing your part.”