To say that this past year has been challenging for Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) is an understatement. On March 16, 2020 SMH implemented a screening protocol for all patients with the placement of an OPP Community Trailer at the main entrance, as there is not enough adequate space inside the Hospital to safely set up a screening station for the public. All visitors were restricted (unless deemed essential) and volunteer services were put on hold to limit volume in the Hospital and keep this vulnerable population safe.
On March 23rd, 2020 SMH started operating their COVID-19 Assessment Centre in their lower parking lot. On its highest volume day, the team of SMH staff managed to swab over 400 individuals when it was a first come first served operation. With the switch to an online booking system, the flow has been very smooth and the Centre averages 150 swabs per operating day. In total, over 18,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed through the SMH COVID-19 Assessment Centre, almost half of the population of New Tecumseth. A new Assessment Centre structure was built in the fall in the Hospital’s lower parking lot to withstand the elements.
“Our hospital as it stands today opened in 1964 and it wasn’t built to manage our current population, our technology requirements nor a global pandemic,” says Jody Levac, President and CEO, SMH. “I’m incredibly proud of our staff and physicians who continue to provide outstanding service to our community, providing high quality care in less than adequate spaces.”
SMH continues to implement and enhance their infection prevention and control protocols one year later. Staff are currently waiting for new furniture to arrive in common areas that is optimal from a cleaning perspective (no fabrics). Active screening (including temperature checks) is in place again for all staff and all inpatients will now be tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they are presenting symptoms.
Plans for a redeveloped and expanded SMH are still moving forward. An updated Stage 2 proposal for a 47-bed hospital was completed in January, including 100 per cent patient isolation rooms as a result of the pandemic. The SMH Foundation is currently fundraising for their Because of you, we can Capital Campaign in support of the Hospital’s redevelopment, equipment and technology needs. To donate, please visit www.transformingstevenson.ca