By Marc Dagher
Women’s College Hospital’s (WCH) COVID-19 programs are coming to a close on March 30, 2023 – a significant milestone that has arrived upon us quietly.
As we reflect on our journey over the last three years, we return to a weekend in mid-March 2020 when the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) first opened in response to a call put out to the health system. No one knew what we were getting ourselves into but we all knew that we had to respond to the crisis – and we did. Within a week, everyone came together and we opened the doors to one of the first assessment centres in downtown Toronto.
What’s amazing is that this initial drive, innovation and inspiration has never ceased. As we progressed through the various stages of the pandemic, all the players involved – which felt like everyone at the hospital was at one point or another – were adaptable and ready for any challenge. When WCH started mobile testing in the community, shelters, LTC homes and later in schools, the work involved was all new to us as we created new care pathways, but everyone bravely jumped in.
And speaking of uncharted territory, fast forward to end of 2020 and beginning 2021 when vaccinations were rolled out. It felt like we were bringing a party into the long-term care homes and that’s how we were received. Fast forward again to April 2021 when we started doing the mass immunization clinics and the party really took off. There were DJs, 100+ team members onsite at times, long line ups, many pizza dinners and late nights. We had to adapt from doing tens or hundreds of vaccines a day to thousands. And our team did it.
And when we say “our team,” this includes everyone who was involved in making all of this happen, both internal and external. From the WCH family to the new friends we made along the way at Unison, Kensington, partner hospitals like UHN and the many institutions and groups that we worked with. It was truly a team effort.
Thank you to #TeamWCH for coming together and always responding to the call when there was a need. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made; we know that sometimes you were putting the wellbeing of the community and your team ahead of yourself. It’s not always easy, but it was what we needed to get through the crisis. Thank you for walking together into the unknown as we faced each new challenge brought on by the pandemic. Thank you for supporting each other and maintaining our sense of our community because that was our only way through. Thank you for breaking down walls that might have separated us from our community and truly living our values of equity. Thank you for making this world a better place!
Here are some quick stats about our journey throughout the last three years:
- Over 248,000 COVID-19 tests provided
- Nearly 270,000 patients supported at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre
- Approximately 130,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered across all our programs
- Roughly 200 staff and 100 WCH physicians involved in our COVID-19 programs, in addition to the many teams who supported from their home departments and the many non-WCH physicians from across the city
Take a trip down memory lane with us with this video that shows some memories from the last 3 years.
Thank you to #TeamWCH for all your incredibly hard work over the past three years and for all you continue you to do.