Ten great things that happened this week

January 14, 2021

Each week, we’re sharing a list of 10 great things that happened at our sites. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Send it to communications@unityhealth.to.

1) Unity Health opens two new COVID-19 vaccination sites

We launched two appointment based COVID-19 vaccination sites this week – one at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and one at Providence Healthcare. The clinics came together with expertise from Redevelopment, Engineering, Occupational Health and Safety, Maintenance, Pharmacy, Labs, Environmental Services, Education and clinical teams across the hospitals. A special thank you to Michael Garron Hospital, our ETHP Ontario Health Team partner, for supporting our vaccination efforts at Providence. Read more about the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at St. Joseph’s and Providence.

2) Dr. Andrea Tricco receives $1M grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Our Dr. Andrea Tricco, co-principal investigator for the COVID-19 Evidence Network, received a $1M grant from the Government of Canada’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The Network will rapidly synthesize the best available evidence across the full breadth of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic response for policy-makers in Canada. Read more.

3) St. Michael’s COVID-19 vaccination site begins to administer second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

St. Michael’s Hospital celebrated Day 21 at the COVID-19 vaccination site this week. This meant that we were able to administer the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to those who received the vaccine on the clinic’s opening day. Melissa Vitug, a Resident Assistant at the Houses of Providence who received her second dose, says that she is “feeling more courageous in going to work every day.”

4) We spotlight Sania Kim as part of our Behind the Mask series

Before the pandemic started, Sania Kim, Unit Clerk at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, loved to dress up before heading into work. But things quickly changed as the virus arrived in Canada. “No one recognizes me now. I want to protect my family. For this reason, I use my uniforms.” Read her story #BehindtheMask.

5) We celebrate the early successes from our new virtual emergency department at St. Michael’s Hospital

Three Toronto hospitals, including St. Michael’s Hospital, have seen promising results from the new virtual emergency department service. Our Dr. Shaun Mehta, Emergency Physician and Co-Lead on the program, spoke with the Canadian Press on how the online service works and how the team is removing barriers that prevent access to the service. Learn more.

6) Dr. Irfan Dhalla speaks with CBC on why we need to continue with public health measures as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out

While vaccination against COVID-19 remains a priority, we also need to continue testing, contact tracing, case management and other measures to stop the spread of the virus. “If we focus exclusively on vaccination over the next few weeks, there’s no doubt that thousands of Canadians will die unnecessarily,” says our Dr. Irfan Dhalla. Read more on CBC.

7) Two Unity Health Toronto physicians share what pregnant and breastfeeding people should know about the COVID-19 vaccine

Pregnant, breastfeeding and immunocompromised people across Ontario can now get the COVID-19 vaccine if they choose. Our Dr. Tali Bogler, Chair of Family Medicine Obstetrics at St. Michael’s Hospital, spoke to the Toronto Star about the change of guidance from the Ministry of Health. Read more here. Our Dr. Filomena Meffe, Chief of OBGYN at St. Michael’s Hospital, was also on TLN to discuss pregnancy during the pandemic and common questions about the vaccine. Watch the video.

8) Dr. Amol Verma weighs in on recent COVID-19 statistics with the Toronto Star

Toronto hit a grim milestone as the city recorded its 2,000th COVID-19 death. Although improved treatments have helped make the second wave less deadly, Dr. Amol Verma warns that, “we’re in the thick of it and there’s a real chance things will get much worse in the next one to two months. Read more.

9) Drs. Ripudaman Minhas and Sloane Freeman pen BMJ commentary on how school closures are impacting children  

The pandemic has caused a major disruption in the cornerstone of children’s lives and well-being — school closures. In a commentary in BMJ Paediatrics Open, our Dr. Ripudaman Minhas and Dr. Sloane Freeman argue pediatricians should use this opportunity to redefine a model of care to support at-risk children with learning, behavioural and social–emotional problems. Read more.

10) Why has Manitoba seen a high number of workplace-related COVID-19 cases? Dr. Farah Mawani weighs in

Manitoba saw hundreds of COVID-19 cases linked to workplaces last fall after the province ordered most businesses shut and barred private gatherings. Our Dr. Farah Mawani, epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, says precarious work is a problematic factor. “If people are in precarious positions — where they don’t have a commitment to a longer contract, their income is low, they have limited benefits … they’re in a position where they don’t have the power to challenge lack of safety in the workplace,” she told CBC Manitoba. Read more.