Today’s date, July 2, marks 107 days since the provincial government declared a formal state of emergency in Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By March 16, we had already implemented new screening and access measures at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC), reducing public access to the hospital, limiting visitors, and screening everyone coming into the building for travel history and symptoms of illness.
On the same day the province made the formal declaration – March 17 – PRHC opened our COVID-19 Assessment Centre. We have now tested more than 8000 people for COVID-19 at PRHC alone. We’ve also tested another 7500 people without symptoms at the Kinsmen Civic Centre drive-through site, in partnership with Peterborough County-City Paramedics and Peterborough Public Health.
By April 1, PRHC had converted one of our inpatient areas into a dedicated respiratory unit, converted the Green Zone in the Emergency Department to care for patients with respiratory illness, and added 27 ICU beds to increase our critical care capacity.
PRHC is a large organization with many moving parts, and implementing all of this change in a matter of weeks while continuing to provide care and support for our patients was no small feat. We were successful because together, we worked tirelessly around the clock to make sure we had all the right measures in place. I have never been prouder or more impressed to work alongside a team of people. What we achieved in such a short period of time was nothing short of astonishing.
And while all of this work was happening inside the hospital, there you were – our community – rallying behind us with words and acts of support. Individuals, organizations and businesses, offering to help us in any way you could: donations of certified personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers; thousands of handmade masks for patients and visitors; posters, banners and other messages of support; financial contributions through the PRHC Foundation – the list goes on. It would be impossible to overstate how much all of your support has meant, and how important it has been in getting us through the challenges we have faced in this time.
Looking back today, it is remarkable how much has changed in just a little over 100 days, not only at PRHC, but in our community, across the country and around the world. Along the way, we have learned a great deal about our readiness to respond to a global pandemic. While we are currently seeing a low level of COVID-19 activity in our community, it is important to remember and keep up all of the great work that has gotten us here.
We have some of the most hard-working, caring and dedicated people on our team at PRHC, and we have an absolutely incredible community supporting us here in Peterborough. Whatever challenges might lie ahead, this experience has shown us that together, we have what it takes to be as prepared as we possibly can be.
If I have learned anything from the past hundred days, it is that collectively, we are truly a force to be reckoned with.
Dr. Peter McLaughlin
President & CEO
Peterborough Regional Health Centre