Terry Pursell, President and CEO, North York General Foundation

COVID-19 Updates: Message from the President – June 16, 2020

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe that it is already mid-July, which I have marked with a two-week (happy) quarantine, as my 17-month-old granddaughter arrived from the U.K. with her parents. With recent changes in federal guidelines for visiting foreign nationals, my dreams of reunifying my family, even for a short time, is being realized. With things evolving so rapidly, I thought a bit of an update on hospital services, visiting and other information might be useful.

Over the weekend, The Star featured an article on North York General’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I encourage you to read it here to experience up close stories from front line staff who have been caring for our community in these most unusual of times.

Gradual Reopening
Earlier, the Ontario Government gave hospitals and other health care providers approval to gradually begin scheduling surgeries and procedures. As we start to carefully resume some services reduced by the pandemic, North York General’s Information Services team has been busy at work creating a tool for surgical patients to pre-register for their procedure 48-72 hours in advance. In addition to making the registration process faster and more efficient, the tool helps ensure we can maintain physical distancing for patients in the hospital and helps reduce the number of patients in waiting areas. For more information on service updates, please click here.

Visitor Access
Families, loved ones and caregivers play an integral role in providing physical, social and emotional support to patients, and we know how important this is. On June 30th, the Hospital commenced a phased approach to safely reintroduce visitors to the hospital according to government recommendations and practices consistent with other hospitals in our region. As well, our Seniors’ Health Centre can accommodate scheduled socially distant and safe visits for residents, with more updates on indoor visits coming soon.

For more information on inpatient and outpatient visitor guidelines, please click here.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
Since launching our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund in March, we have continued to be amazed and grateful for the outpouring of support from our community. From donations towards emerging equipment and virtual care needs, to personal protective equipment, to investments in our staff’s well-being, we are #NorthYorkGeneralStrong because of our community. Below are some brief highlights from the past few months:

COVID-19 Emergency Relieve Fund - 2.6M raised from 3,406 donors

In late June, we launched the #MaskUpNYGH campaign to promote the benefits of wearing cloth masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We were a bit cheeky in our promotion by calling our polka dot masks the “must have accessory of Summer 2020”, but it worked and our education message came through loud and clear. In less than 10 days, we sold out of almost 7,000 North York General Strong masks, and we are thankful for those who purchased a mask (or three!) to help protect yourself, your community and the ones you love.

All masks have now been shipped, and we encourage you to share a selfie on social media using the hashtag #MaskUpNYGH when you receive yours!

If you didn’t get a chance to purchase one, we were able to get our hands on 1,000 more, so watch out for the announcement in the coming weeks on our limited restock!

I will sign off now so I can practice my “Horsey Horsey” and “Skinnamarink” songs!

With my best to you and yours, and #staysafe,

Terry Pursell
Terry Pursell
President & CEO

P.S. As always, if you are interested in learning more about COVID-19-related issues, please go to the hospital’s website at nygh.on.ca/covid-19-updates and remember to access our self-assessment tool at covid19toronto.ca to help guide you if you or a family member are feeling unwell. If you would like to be tested for COVID-19, even if you don’t have any symptoms, we have two assessment/testing centres for you to access and a dedicated portal where you can receive your results.

Branson Assessment Centre
555 Finch Ave. (North Entrance immediately after Finch)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last registration at 7:45 p.m.)

North York General Hospital
4001 Leslie St. (Enter through Emergency Department)
Hours: 24 hours