The following is a message to the community from Janice Skot, President and CEO of Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre:
“We have reached a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily case counts continue to soar and many communities are in, or teetering on the verge of, lockdown. Simcoe Muskoka is now in the Red Control zone.
Hospitals are being overwhelmed as the number of COVID patients requiring hospitalization, particularly intensive care, grows. In the past month, ICU admissions in Ontario have spiked by a staggering 166 per cent!
Last month RVH opened a 70-bed field hospital in its parking lot. The Regional Pandemic Response Unit has created much-needed capacity, allowing RVH to care patients transferred from over-burdened hospitals in the GTA and elsewhere in Simcoe County that are facing surging cases of COVID-19, high occupancy in their ICUs and large numbers of staff on sick leave.
I know it’s been a tough nine months. Those early days of the pandemic when neighbours banged pots, musicians put on free concerts and virtual get-togethers were novel and fun have been replaced by frustration, exhaustion and a desperate desire for the pandemic to be over.
We’re all tired and ‘COVID-fatigue’ has set in, but now more than ever hospitals need your help in controlling this virus.
Recent modelling shows, if we don’t contain this virus Ontario could see 5,000 new COVID cases a day and nearly 400 people in our ICUs by early-January. When hospitals have no empty beds and emergency departments and ICUs are full, it means surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests have to be delayed.
Although news of the COVID vaccine arrival provides some light at the end of the tunnel, it’s not a magic bullet. Immunization for the majority of Ontarians is still months away.
We must stay the course.
Please, continue to wear a mask in public, physically distance yourself from others and wash your hands. And although the holidays are time for family, this year we all need to sacrifice to protect our community. Avoid social gatherings and celebrate the season at home with only the people in your household.
Despite the enormous challenges we face, people throughout the region can continue to count on RVH. I am so proud of TEAM RVH who have responded to this health crisis with resilience, strength and, always, compassion.
We continue to miss our beloved ‘Blue Brigade’ volunteers, but when I look into the eyes of our employees and physicians, I see their exhaustion and their worry. But I also see their determination. Determination to do what they do best; continue to care for you.
Be safe and stay healthy this holiday season.”