dr allison furey newfoundland

Newfoundland healthcare workers arrive in Toronto to help with COVID-19 crisis

If the smash hit Broadway musical Come From Away has taught me anything, it's that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are really helpful — a reputation that nine medical personnel are living up to and then some right now by travelling from their homes all the way to Ontario to battle COVID-19.

The health-care workers (who include Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey's wife, Dr. Allison Furey) touched down at Toronto's Pearson International Airport Tuesday afternoon.

"Update: The health care workers from Newfoundland and Labrador have touched down in Toronto," tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon their arrival. "Once again, I'd like to thank everyone involved for stepping up in this time of need."

According to the CBC, the aid team is made up of three doctors, five nurses and a nurse practitioner — all volunteers who've been working on the front lines of the pandemic locally and abroad.

Eight members of the team boarded a military aircraft in St. John's this morning and a ninth was picked up in Deer Lake, Newfoundland, along the way.

They arrive just one day after the federal government approved Ontario's request for help in combatting the coronavirus and its variants, and hours after the province reported a strikingly high positivity rate of 10.9 per cent.

Some 2,336 people are currently hospitalized in the province as a result of contracting COVID-19, 875 of them in ICUs and 589 on ventilators.

These nine professionals are only the first of several teams expected to arrive in Ontario, and their work is being treated as "a trial run," according to CBC News. 

They will help manage ICU cases and staffing pressures in Toronto, according to government officials, and will stay anywhere from 10 days to three weeks. All are fully vaccinated.

"We're very grateful for the help that we're receiving from Newfoundland," said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott on Tuesday.

"They're experienced in intensive care and one is Premier Furey's wife, who is a critical care doctor herself. So these are people who are very knowledgeable."

Lead photo by

Justin Trudeau

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