Terry Pursell, President and CEO, North York General Foundation

COVID-19 Updates: Message from the President – October 8, 2020

Dear Friends,

In my childhood family home, where my siblings and their families normally gather for weekends such as the one approaching, things won’t be the usual. During Thanksgiving, years ago, someone in my family (p.s. it was me) started the tradition of going around the table and asking each of us to share what they were thankful for. For context, this ranges from 16-22 family members depending on the holiday and yes, there is the occasional “not this again” but once the recitals commence, it is lovely.

While we won’t have as many people around the table or enjoy the company of visiting family and friends, we have much for which to be thankful. Even if you don’t observe Thanksgiving, we are all thankful for someone or something in our lives. Perhaps we can reflect and give thanks to our North York General Strong ❤️ healthcare team who will be here to care for us all weekend long. Whether on the front line or behind the scenes, every day they are adapting to offer the best care and the best care environments through these moments of universal uncertainty. We also give thanks to all of you, the other half of our North York General Strong ❤️community who unfailingly support our hospital. And for my part, I am thankful that I have the privilege of being able to work for this community through my role at the foundation and don’t tell my siblings, but I am thankful (just this once) to only have to make Thanksgiving for four, not 16. They won’t get out of going around the table though as I have an insisted on a virtual “what are you thankful for”!

This weekend brings some incredible weather and many of us will be getting our legs out for Rally 2020 where the community and our hospital family will walk or run 1k, 5k or 10k to raise awareness and funds for this hospital which means so much to all of us, especially as we tackle the second wave of COVID-19. I brazenly stated I would do all three distances at the same time so I am thinking I will do this before I eat on Sunday! It is not too late to participate as you have all weekend to do your own Rally.

Rally in the Ravine - Run or walk wherever you are on October 10th-12th.

This weekend also marks World Mental Health Day on October 10th and the overall objective is to raise awareness and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The role of North York General in mental health care for our community has never been more important across all generations and cultural communities. I am proud to share the following publication about the resources available for you and your loved ones at our hospital and also some practical advice on managing in the age of COVID-19. Also captured is news of expanding our Charlotte & Lewis Steinberg Emergency to include the creation of a new Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Let me know if you’d like to learn more about this project as it will be supported entirely by philanthropy.

Mental Health Care Now - The Doctors of North York General

As you have gathered in the media, COVID-19 assessment centre protocols have changed and North York General pivoted quickly to adopt new measures in online booking and to improve the on-site testing experience given the massive increase in demand. This update is important as we no longer have a COVID-19 assessment centre at our main site at 4001 Leslie St. but we have increased capacity at our Branson location by appointment only (nygh.on.ca/covid-19-updates). And the good news is we have cleared the backlog for those waiting for test results and our turn around times have vastly improved.

Branson Assessment Centre
555 Finch Ave.W (North Entrance)
Hours by appointment only: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Book an appointment for a COVID-19 test ONLY if you:

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus (call Toronto Public Health 416-338-7600 to better understand if your exposure is considered close contact)
  • Have received notification through the COVID Alert app
  • Live or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by the local public health unit
  • Are 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
  • Are an NYGH patient and require a test for surgery
  • Are at greater risk for COVID-19 due to a health condition (e.g., starting treatment for cancer or is directed by their treating clinician)
  • Are an international student who has passed the 14-day quarantine period
  • Require a test before travelling internationally

As we steel ourselves for the months ahead, we are wiser about masking, more confident in our distancing practices, more vigilant in our handwashing, more informed about symptoms for the cold vs the flu vs COVID-19 and more thankful than ever for our healthcare workers, and for our health and that of our loved ones.

Stay safe and #MaskUp,

Terry Pursell
Terry Pursell
President & CEO