Hospital Closing the Dedicated COVID-19 Unit

Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Oukachbi
Dr. Stewart Kennedy, COVID-19 Incident Manager, and Dr. Salima Oukachbi, who provided dedicated physician service for the COVID-19 Care Unit.

Tomorrow, July 23, 2020 the dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre will close.

“This is a milestone transition in our COVID-19 pandemic response, and highlights our community’s success in terms of avoiding an influx of positive cases in our Hospital,” said Dr. Stewart Kennedy, Incident Manager.

The dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit opened in early April, 2020 to allow for an influx of COVID-19 infected patients. Patients confirmed or highly suspected to be infected with the COVID-19 virus were provided care in the dedicated unit. Fortunately, Northwestern Ontario avoided outbreaks of COVID-19. However, COVID-19 is still in the community, and new cases are expected in the weeks and months to come. Impacted patients will receive appropriate care in the Hospital’s negative pressure isolation rooms.

“Should the need arise, we can and will act to swiftly re-establish the dedicated COVID-19 Unit,” explained Kennedy. “The time is right to revert the unit back to use by surgical patients, enhancing our capacity to provide the care for people who have been waiting for so many months.”

The opening of the dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit introduced challenging new realities for staff and professional staff assigned to this unit. All are to be congratulated for their remarkable professionalism.

“I could not be more proud of the team of devoted staff and professional staff who were part of this unprecedented activity,” noted Dr. Salima Oukachbi, who, along with Dr. Jehan Zaib, provided dedicated physician service for the unit. “From the very beginning, team members worked together to plan, problem-solve and overcome fears to deliver safe, quality care under extraordinary circumstances. As health care professionals, we never anticipated such a health care crisis, yet the team rose to the occasion with expertise and integrity.”

In addition to those specifically assigned to the dedicated COVID-19 Care Unit, staff throughout the Hospital provided support to ensure its successful operation. Our Hospital is grateful to them all.