Terry Pursell, President and CEO, North York General Foundation

COVID-19 Updates: Message from the President – September 29, 2020

Dear Friends,

Like many of you who have loved ones in other cities, provinces or countries, I am consumed with news of COVID-19 second waves not only in Canada but in the UK, where my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter reside. I am equally tuned into BBC as I am to CBC and other media sources and of course, working in the health care sector, I see many reports and numbers that remind us where we were and where we are now, despite how far we’ve come. It continues to be a stressful time socially, economically and emotionally, although I wager we are each better prepared to deal with the associated issues this time round. I am unclear when I will be able to see the UK gang given the isolation protocols of both countries, thus FaceTime visits continue to be our consolation prize.

With all these unknowns, it is a comfort to see that North York General remains the pride of this community as a constant, compassionate and caring companion. Our efforts to tackle COVID-19 from the day it appeared at our hospital was made possible through the extraordinary people of North York General and this community’s support. I invite you to read the following report that chronicles our COVID-19 journey from February to August.

Our COVID-19 Response - Making a World of Difference

This week we witnessed provincially mandated changes to testing protocols at all Ontario COVID-19 assessment centres due to the emergence of a second wave of cases. North York General has administered over 96,000 tests, up from 61,000 at the time of my last update, and now we are managing an even higher demand for testing and increased wait times for results. In accordance with the Ministry of Health, you should only seek testing at COVID-19 assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID-19 Alert app;
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit;
  • A resident, visiting a resident or work in an at-risk setting, such as a long-term care home, homeless shelter or other congregate setting;
  • Scheduled for surgery; or
  • Included in setting-specific populations, (eg. asymptomatic cancer patients).

As a reminder, our sites are:

Branson Site COVID-19 Assessment Centre
555 Finch Ave. (North Entrance immediately after Finch)
8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Main Site COVID-19 Assessment Centre
4001 Leslie St. (by Emergency entrance)
8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

You can also check the Ministry of Health website for select pharmacies offering COVID-19 tests to those without symptoms, and the hospital’s website nygh.on.ca/covid-19-updates is also updated regularly as the situation evolves.

To support the continuing interest of managing in the age of COVID-19, we staged our third “House Calls: a virtual conversation with our community” on September 16th. This virtual experience centred around the mental health issues people are grappling with during this pandemic and provided practical ways to support yourself and your loved ones. Click on the image below to watch the video.

House Calls - a virtual conversation with our community

Rally 2020 (previously Rally in the Ravine) will take place on the Thanksgiving Long Weekend, October 10th-12th. Themed Rally for North York General Wherever You Are, members of our North York General Strong ❤️ Community can choose to run or walk 1k, 5k or 10k. I’ve decided to do all three distances at the same time!

Rally 2020 for North York General presented by the Nanji Family Foundation

So get your Legs Out for NYGH and register as an individual or as a team! I hope you will join us wherever you are to celebrate and fundraise on behalf of the hospital that means so much to all of us. If you are not able to participate, perhaps you can donate to one of the teams… maybe even the Foundation Team, the Fundrunners! ?

None of us can be sure of the road ahead with the number of cases on the rise, but I encourage you to keep masking up, washing your hands and social distancing (which will be a challenge over Thanksgiving, I am sure). If you need support, please reach out to family or friends, or your family physician, who remains an excellent resource. And as always, our Charlotte & Lewis Steinberg Emergency is here for you 24/7, no matter your health crisis.

With my best to you and yours, and #stay safe,

Terry Pursell
Terry Pursell
President & CEO