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Across Ontario Universities are supporting communities

Ontario’s universities play a vital role as anchors in communities throughout the province. Whether it’s providing accommodations for frontline workers, developing much-needed products and equipment, or supporting families, our institutions recognize the importance of working together to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians.

McMaster University researchers are racing to create a home-based COVID-19 testing kit, which could potentially be ready to move forward for approvals and manufacturing within months.The COVID-19 self-diagnosis kit would be configured to detect the genetic material of the virus but would work in a manner similar to a home pregnancy test, generating a result on a test strip within 20 minutes.

In Niagara a local company is making an international impact in combatting COVID-19 with kits to help test for the virus. With the help of Brock University’s Machine Shop, Norgen Biotek – founded by a Brock professor – has been able to multiply its manufacturing capacity, building kits as quickly as possible.

With a shortage of hand sanitizer across the country, the University of Guelph is supplying Guelph-based Dixon’s Distilled Spirits with enough glycerol and peroxide to make at least 2,000 litres of hand sanitizer. The product has been donated to health-care workers and essential services, including medical clinics, the fire department, the local OPP dispatch and more.

Facing a global pandemic, as well as school and child-care closures across the province, parents and caregivers are undoubtedly feeling the stress. Lakehead University has launched free courses that provide expert advice on parenting, learning at home and managing anxiety, as well as, free live and on-demand webinars.

To support people who may have been assessed for COVID-19 and/or are in self-isolation, the Health Design Studio at OCAD University has created a self-management and self-isolation hand-out, each in a variety of languages. The easy-to-understand tools are based on current guidelines, and are editable for hospitals and clinics to adapt to changing local needs.

To help provide health-care workers with the personal protective equipment they desperately need, the Creative Technology Lab at Ryerson University has partnered with Toronto General Hospital to design and prototype face shields and masks for health-care workers. The lab has the capacity to develop 75 3-D-printed headpieces, 350 casted headpieces and 425 laser-cut plastic shields per day.

As health-care professionals work around the clock to care and support patients diagnosed with COVID-19, Trent University is providing temporary housing for those who choose to self-isolate from their families during the pandemic. The Gzowski College residence will temporarily provide up to 100 rooms for health-care workers from the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

By rapidly building much-needed equipment for frontline health-care workers, a start-up created at York University, Droplet Lab, is contributing to the fight against COVID-19. The lab designed a face shield that can be made in less than five minutes without the need for a specialized tool and at a significantly low cost.

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