Update from Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – July 10, 2020
This past week there have been a number of signals that we continue to make headway on the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases have been slowly but steadily declining, and business restrictions are being lifted. At the same, cities across the province have stepped up precautions with mandatory mask requirements in indoor public spaces.
These concepts may seem counter-intuitive. It is worth taking the time to understand the implications of these decisions for Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) and our community.
OSMH applauds the leadership of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announcement that face coverings will be required as of Monday, July 13 in all indoor public spaces. As we recover from the first wave of COVID-19 this is the best time to increase our safety measures and ensure the 2nd wave is prevented or at least contained as much as possible.
Wearing masks will help prevent people from spreading COVID-19 to others. No one knows where the next case will come from and we know we are still seeing new cases in Simcoe County. Along with hand hygiene and physical distancing, it is the best way we can look out for each other.
I appreciate the timing of wearing a mask is difficult in the midst of summer and record high temperatures. I consider the amazing work of our team at the Couchiching COVID-19 Assessment Centre. They are testing over 150 individuals every day for COVID-19 outside in 30+ degree temperatures wearing a mask and a face shield and a full length gown to help keep everyone safe.
We all have a role in keeping each other safe. We are one community. We are all Soldiers in this battle against COVID-19.
Inside the hospital we have had a mask policy from the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a heightened responsibility to keep safe our most vulnerable who use our hospital services. We will continue to ensure all visitors and staff entering the hospital wear masks.
The OSMH team continues to be as busy as ever even as restrictions are lifted. Our surgery team is happy to be back in the operating room on a more regular basis, doing the surgeries and procedures our community needs. OSMH is also planning to allow more visitors into the hospital starting next week. It will be a gradual increase as we need to make sure we have enough space in our hospital to accommodate physical distancing particularly in tight, high traffic areas like our emergency department.
As our hospital and our community move forwards with a new normal in how we live with COVID-19, we are continually adapting and changing. This comes at a cost. People are tired, frustrated and stressed for a variety of personal, social and economic reasons. In the media and online we continue to see tempers increasing and people differing in opinions on masks and restrictions. Let’s all do our part and remember this isn’t just about ourselves, but our entire community including our vulnerable populations who need others to consider their safety. We need to continue to be a kind and caring community as the next stage of this pandemic unfolds.
President & CEO,
Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital