Published On: April 14, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is precipitating a set of events unprecedented in our lifetime. So much has changed in so little time. In the past month, the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) team and our health system partners have come together for our patients in extraordinary ways to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic. Our preparation has touched all aspects of hospital operations and our staff are preparing around the clock, seven days a week.
We have seen our first COVID-19 patients admitted to our hospital and we anticipate more will follow in the days and weeks ahead. Some patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital. Unfortunately, some have succumbed to this awful disease – we extend our deepest condolences to their loved ones.
We thank those who have heeded the directions from all levels of government and public health officials to help reduce the spread of the virus in our community. Your continued vigilance will be essential in the days and weeks ahead.
To ensure the Emergency Department is available to treat the most sick, please access other health system supports available to you first. If you develop a fever, new or worse cough, or shortness of breath please access the Ontario Ministry of Health “Self-Assessment Tool,” which is available on their website. You may also call your family physician’s office, Ontario Telehealth or your local Public Health Unit.
While the pandemic is changing how we operate as a hospital, STEGH continues to provide essential services. Keeping our patients and staff safe is our first priority – always. We have taken measures across the hospital to protect everyone. For example, in the Emergency Department we have established two separate zones to treat patients – one for non-COVID illnesses, and the other for confirmed or presumed cases of the disease. If you need emergency care, please know that we are here for you.
To prepare for the expected surge of patients in the coming weeks, STEGH has scaled back non-essential services and created additional capacity in the intensive care unit and separate medical inpatient units. In addition, we are working closely with our partner hospitals in South West Ontario to develop a coordinated, integrated surge capacity plan. For example, London Health Sciences Centre has announced the preparation of a field hospital, if needed, that will support the region.
As the pandemic activity has increased at our hospital and in the community, we are seeing the benefits of our preparation and collaboration. I am grateful to be working among so many talented individuals – all who are committed to serving our patients with the highest standards, compassion and empathy. And most of all, I am humbled by our front line heroes for their courage and service.
STEGH’s ‘can do’ spirit is alive and well. We are here for you.
President and CEO
St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital