Toronto hospital has no COVID-19 patients in intensive care for the first time since March
While the northwest end of Toronto has been feeling the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Humber River Hospital announced that their intensive care unit (ICU) is now COVID patient-free as of July 3.
Wow!!! Today is the first day since Mar 14th that our Intensive Care Unit are #COVIDー19 patient free! Thank you to the 6th floor staff and physicians that have bonded together and provided exceptional care in this pandemic. Today is a day to celebrate at #HRH. pic.twitter.com/L89PXMmyNI— Humber River Hospital (@HRHospital) July 3, 2020
According to Joe Gorman, director of corporate communications at the hospital, a sense of relief settled through the air when they heard the news. “There was a sense of pride and understanding. They all know they did a good job but also that the job’s not done.” Gorman said.
Humber River Hospital was among the top five hospitals in the city with the most number of positive COVID-19 cases.
COVID case tracking maps released by the City of Toronto reveal that the communities nearby the hospital, largely made up of service workers who have not had a break since the lockdown began, are where the most cases are. There are currently 432 cases in the Downsview area.
Toronto's NW corner is overwhelmingly bearing the brunt of #covid19. In the worst-hit neighbourhood, the infection rate is 24x higher than in the least (The Beach). We dug into the deep systemic issues that were harming these communities long before COVID https://t.co/nOETsAsvsn pic.twitter.com/KOkoU1PUaO— Jennifer Yang (@jyangstar) June 28, 2020
“We are supporting a community that supports us and that we are also looking after. That hashtag, #WeAreInThisTogether, rings true in northwest Toronto.” Gorman says.
Since the lockdown began on March 14, the hospital has been part of the Frontline Fund, a Canada-wide initiative where people can donate money, PPE and other supplies.
The St. Helen’s Market donated food and meals to the staff every week since March. Individuals across the city also donated surgical gloves, N95 masks and money.
But instead of keeping the meals, the hospital staff chose to donate the food and money back to the Black Creek community farm instead. “We just want to say thank you to everyone who was involved and helped us along the way.” Gorman said.
He says that after the staff cheered and posed for the picture, they went right back to work knowing that there were still other people in the ICU who needed their care and attention.
Humber River Hospital staff has continued to support their workers with daily COVID updates, multiple weekly visits from their CEO Barb Collins, as well as a Q&A town hall session where concerned staff could ask her questions regarding the response to the pandemic.
But while we celebrate this victory, Gorman says the fight is not over yet.
“We cannot take our foot off the pedal. We have to continue to mask, social distance, wash our hands and listen to our public health officials because right now we have flattened the curve but what’s most important is that we continue to flatten the curve.”
Ontario has been reporting consistent declines in the number of COVID cases in the province. They recently reported their lowest increase in the number of new cases in the province with a total of 121. Twenty-seven of them were in Toronto.
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