WINDSOR, ONT. -- A grassroots group of residents hopes nurses and other frontline health care workers are feeling the love Friday in the midst of the trying demands of the COVID-19 crisis.

Dozens of people took to the corners outside of Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) in South Walkerville on Friday to share ‘thank you’ messages and to encourage healthcare workers to persevere during the difficult circumstances presented by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope that it helps them to keep the momentum going and to just know that we’re behind you all the way and we appreciate everything that you’re doing for us,” says Jill Moysiuk, an organizer of the gesture of appreciation. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

All around the blocks surrounding the WRH Metropolitan Campus, children could be seen banging pots and waving colourful signs showing their support for the hospital staff walking to and from work.

Daniella Dickens is the manager for inpatient surgery at WRH and was moved to tears by the show of support.

“It’s amazing. Just to see the people on the corners, it just, it warms your heart,” says Dickens. “It makes you proud to be a healthcare worker and to come to work and to do everything that you can, not only for your family, but also the community of Windsor-Essex County.”

Dickens says there have been “ups and downs” as staff prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.

Donna Gelinas works in the utilization management division at WRH and helps with the flow of beds for the operating room.

Gelinas says seeing the gathering of people with signs of appreciation and encouragement as well as the joyful sounds of clappers, cowbells — and even sleigh bells — made her afternoon.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing, how wonderful,’” says Gelinas.

According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in its latest briefing, there are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region to date.

There have been a total of 669 individuals tested, of which 462 are pending.