A Message from our President and CEO

Published On: December 9, 2020

During this holiday season, may our community spirit rise to the challenge.
Penned by Robert Biron, President and CEO
December 9, 2020

Our health care team takes pride in serving our patients and the Elgin community. Here at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, our first priority is to keep everyone safe. This is an unwavering commitment to our patients and staff and to the community we serve.

Throughout the pandemic, we have strived to provide exceptional care to everyone despite the challenging environment. In recent weeks, that challenge has become increasingly difficult as COVID-19 cases have reached record highs in Ontario and in our local communities.

As we monitor the COVID-19 activity in our immediate communities and across Ontario, it is apparent that we are entering a critical phase of the pandemic. We are now seeing:

  • Outbreaks being declared at long-term facilities and at other hospitals in surrounding communities, putting strain on the regional health care system.
  • Hospital bed capacity has deteriorated and we run the risk of cancelling scheduled surgeries and other procedures.
  • The number of COVID-19 positive cases reported in Elgin County is rising daily.
  • The number of workplaces and schools facing outbreaks is increasing.
  • Demand for COVID-19 testing continues to rise as the virus spreads in the community.

If our hospital, emergency department and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are full, it means that surgeries, procedures, diagnostic tests and routine care will have to be delayed, adding to a substantial backlog. This risk affects all patients, not only those with COVID-19 – the postponement of cancer surgeries, for example, puts hundreds of our neighbours in harm’s way.

Throughout this pandemic, our health care team – our heroes – have faced these challenges with courage and compassion. But as we have seen in other jurisdictions across the world, if public health measures are not adhered to by the community, it leads to dire consequences.

Our health care team are also human beings under enormous physical, mental and emotional strain. We stand behind them, and we call on everyone to join us by doing everything they can to curve the spread of the virus, save lives and limit the damage.

We know that fatigue with public health restrictions has set in, and that it is particularly painful to cancel traditional family gatherings – but this sacrifice pales in comparison to the pain of losing a loved one or watching them suffer. No one is unaffected by COVID 19, and no one is exempt from doing their part.

In the spirit of community and generosity that characterizes the holiday season, we ask everyone to celebrate safely and responsibly. Celebrating at a distance is the best way to support our health care team and keep our community safe – it’s a small price to pay compared to the grief of those who could face far greater losses if we fail to do our part.