Grand River Hospital reflects on first 19 months of pandemic

Grand River Hospital in Kitchener looks back on the first 19 months of the pandemic – and sheds light on the regional response to COVID-19.

Its drive-through testing clinic has administered over 160,000 swabs since it opened last June, accounting for 30 percent of all tests completed in the Waterloo area.

In December 2020, the hospital opened the region’s first vaccination clinic. More than 25,000 cans went in their arms before the clinic moved to Cambridge in March. Since then, over 210,000 vaccines have been administered at the Pinebush Road site.

Further highlights were contained in a press release from the GRH on Wednesday:

Strengthening partnerships and sharing resources in the fight against COVID-19

During the pandemic, Ontario hospitals faced the challenge of redesigning hospital rooms to accommodate the increasing number of acute and isolation patients. At the local level, this required a collaborative approach to focus as much hospital space as possible on caring for critically ill patients. Grand River Hospital provided space on its Freeport campus to accommodate poor visual acuity patients from hospitals in the Waterloo area so that the area’s hospitals can utilize the space and resources available to care for patients with critical needs. This increased locally available capacity became particularly important as many hospitals outside the region suffered from extreme capacity pressures and their patients were transferred to hospitals in the Waterloo region for care.

Wave three also put frontline health workers across Ontario under extreme pressure. Grand River Hospital organized the transfer of staff and doctors to hospitals outside the Waterloo area to help those hardest hit by waves two and three of the pandemic.

“On behalf of everyone at Osler, I would like to thank you very much for including our critically ill patients in the transfer and for sending doctors to support our resources,” says Dr. Frank Martino, chief of staff at William Osler Health System. “It means the world to us and even more so to the families and patients struggling for their lives. The burden-sharing in this wave of pandemics has relieved our teams enormously. The addition of the skilled doctors to work side by side with our staff has made a tremendous difference and helped ease the burden that threatens to exceed our capacities. Thank you for showing what generosity and compassion look like. “

COVID-19 – Hope, Vaccinations and Teamwork

In late December 2020, with the help of volunteers and staff from Cambridge Memorial and St. Mary’s General hospitals, Grand River Hospital opened the area’s first vaccination site to protect the most vulnerable. This clinic served the province’s 1 priority groups (health workers, indigenous people and the elderly) and delivered more than 25,000 doses of vaccine. In March, the clinic moved the team to a larger location in Cambridge to continue work in support of the region’s vaccine strategy. To date, Pinebush Clinic has provided more than 210,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to our community.

“I’m incredibly proud to be working with the Waterloo area on our COVID-19 response,” said Lisa Anstey, manager of the vaccine clinic and manager of Grand River Hospital. “This is definitely the highlight of my career and I want to thank the region and every single member of the team who stood up for our community when it was needed most. From our humble beginnings in the basement of the Kaufman building to the largest vaccine clinic in the area, we’ve evolved to not only deliver vaccines, but also hope, kindness and healing. “

COVID-19 research and innovation

Grand River has also joined St. Mary’s and many other Ontario hospitals in COVID-19 research and academic partnerships that continue to improve knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 treatments, including the use of antibodies and potential therapies will.

“None of this work would be possible without the phenomenal team we have at Grand River Hospital, the staff and management of Cambridge Memorial and St. Mary’s General hospitals, and the community who come together,” said Ron Gagnon, President and CEO of the Grand River Hospital. “COVID has really challenged us all to think differently about how we work together to support and protect our community and people across the province. Our community has supported each other in so many ways, from funding materials and equipment to providing meals and coffee to the staff. I am very proud to work with this team in this community and I appreciate everything we have achieved together. “

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