Board Chair’s Monthly Message

Report from Matt Simeoni
Chair, Board of Directors
February 3, 2021

Matt Simeoni

I begin my first report of 2021 by wishing a happy new year to the residents of Northwestern Ontario. I
hope that despite the unprecedented circumstances, you were able to enjoy the holiday season and
are now looking forward to a healthier, happier, safer, and more prosperous 2021.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge us, there is reason to have a positive outlook
for the year ahead. The arrival of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has ushered in a hopeful new phase of
this pandemic and represents a turning point in our ongoing battle. I am proud of our Hospital’s role in
this exciting effort. This vaccination roll-out is the largest in our country’s history and it will take time to
complete. Thank you for your patience, and remember to continue following public health guidelines.

Each of us needs to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus and to keep ourselves and the
community safe. This means wearing a mask when you’re out, limiting your contacts to those living in
your household, and washing your hands frequently.

Another positive development is the recent launch of our Hospital’s Virtual Emergency Department,
which provides patients with safe, quality emergency care from the comfort of their homes. The program
is available to people living in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area who are older than 17 years of age,
have a non-life-threatening medical issue, and either don’t have a primary care provider or are unable to
obtain timely access to one. Virtual assessments can be booked by visiting

The holiday season is a time for giving and showing generosity to others. In December, nurses, clerks,
support workers, physicians, and staff from the Emergency Department, the Northwestern Ontario
Regional Stroke Network and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit once again participated in the Children’s
Aid Society’s Holiday Hamper program. Each group raised money, provided gifts, and donated food and
essential items to local families and individuals in need. The Renal Dialysis Department, who collects
and distributes food hampers for their dialysis patients every December, also donated excess items to
the Dew Drop Inn. When Southbridge Roseview struggled with a COVID-19 outbreak, the Intensive Care
Unit team showed their support for staff and residents by providing them with treats. I’m very proud but
never surprised to hear about these acts of kindness from our staff. Thank you to all for your warmth and
tremendous generosity.

As Chair of the Board, I am grateful for the outpouring of support that hospital staff receive from the
community, in all its forms. Students from Holy Family School and St. Pius X School showed their
appreciation for our staff with hand-made artwork with uplifting messages. Local businesses donated to
the Hospital as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to our dedicated staff and health care providers who are
working tirelessly to keep the community healthy and safe. Thoughtful gestures like those are especially
meaningful during these extraordinary times.

I’m excited to be moving ahead with the development of our next Strategic Plan. We have made some
excellent progress, including the creation of a Strategic Plan Working Group consisting of senior
leadership, staff, and Board members from both our Hospital and Health Research Institute. Thank you
to the Board members on the Steering Committee, specifically Pat Lang and Gord Wickam from our
Hospital’s Board and Dr. Andrew Dean and Dr. Sheldon Tobe from the Health Research Institute Board
for their efforts in getting us started. I look forward to sharing more information as our activities progress.
To everyone throughout all of Northwestern Ontario, thank you for your trust, perseverance, and patience
during this pandemic; we will get through this, together.