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The novel coronavirus outbreak has placed increased financial pressures on local health services and, at this time, the Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF) is raising money to cover pandemic related costs.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund will support the hospital's immediate needs as the virus's peak gets closer and, so far, there has been significant community support since it launched on April 15.
“We've already raised nearly $200,000 since we launched the pandemic fund, which goes to show you even in this time of uncertainty people are still willing to give and appreciate the work the staff are doing at the hospital,” said SMHF Executive Director Tanya Wall, who noted $100,000 came from the Honda Canada Foundation.
Wall said in mid-March the SMHF switched gears from its $43 million capital campaign and equipment needs fundraisers to COVID-19, when it started to understand the extent to which the pandemic was going to affect the hospital.
The fund will be ongoing through the duration of the pandemic before Stevenson shifts focus back onto its capital campaign.
SMH is currently unsure of how much money the government will reimburse for pandemic related expenses, which is where the response fund can help.
“We really want to make sure as a foundation we're supporting the hospital and giving it the flexibility to really get what they need and…continue to be on the frontline of this pandemic, supporting our community as best they can,” Wall explained.
She said the funds that are donated funds to the hospital will make a difference when there is a surge of COVID-19 cases at Stevenson.
The hospital is currently looking to purchase vital signs monitors, stretchers for the trauma room, and multiple items for the obstetrics department, Wall noted.
“We've launched this fund to give the community an opportunity to support the hospital and all of these urgent priorities as well as things like the meals that are being provided for staff who are working at the hospital right now,” she said.
When COVID-19 first broke out, SMH was accepting food donations and received many from the community, but as the virus progressed, it had to stop to limit its spread.
“In place of that the hospital started offering meals to staff, so the pandemic fund is going to help pay for those costs as well,” said Wall.
SMH has also removed parking fees for patients and staff and the response fund will help cover the loss of those revenue streams.
The SMHF has to engage in significant fundraising each year to purchase capital equipment, as those costs aren't covered by the government.
“We're dependent on the support and the generosity of the community to have the hospital be able to provide quality care,” she said.
She told the Times that the New Tecumseth community as a whole has really banded together to support SMH staff, with gestures big and small.
Painted rocks with positive sayings and encouraging messages for healthcare workers were recently placed at the entrance of the hospital.
Others have been banging pots and pans in their driveways, to make some noise for frontline staff.
As well, last week a local elementary school sent letters of thanks to healthcare workers, which Wall said has been really impactful.
“Just the messages of support have really made a difference for the staff,” she noted.
Meanwhile, SMH has also been running a Personal Protective Equipment Drive (PPE), accepting donations of new or unopened PPE, which was launched in late March and has been well supported locally.
“The hospital was facing challenges in ordering and getting [PPE] supplies so we really turned to the community, with a call out to say if you have these things in your inventory, please donate them to the hospital and our community responded in a huge way,” said Wall.
She said it's important that the PPE Drive continues to receive support from the community, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently SMH is looking for Level 2 rating or higher ear-loop masks, AAMI gowns that are Level 2 rating or greater, and powder-free/latex-free nitrile gloves in 12” size.
The needs of the PPE Drive are constantly changing, for the most up to date information visit: www.stevensonhospital.ca/stevenson-ppe-drive.html and view the bolded items.
Anyone who has spare PPE or has been able to remain financially solid through the pandemic is encouraged to donate to Stevenson.
"If people are in the position, their support has never been more needed,” Wall stressed.
She said the hospital and foundation are extremely grateful to the community for the support they've received so far.
In the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a celebratory event, honouring and thanking hospital staff. The date and location will be determined closer to the event.
By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Post date: 2020-04-24 19:59:40
Post date GMT: 2020-04-24 23:59:40
Post modified date: 2020-04-24 19:59:46
Post modified date GMT: 2020-04-24 23:59:46
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