'They’re heroes': Windsor leaders offer gratitude for frontline healthcare staff
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Unifor local 2458 is making a week’s worth of special deliveries of coffee and donuts for doctors, nurses and support staff at Windsor’s new field hospital as a sign of gratitude for the work they’re doing.
“We wanted to bring a token of our appreciation,” said Tulio DiPonti of Unifor local 2458, which represents long-term care workers. “Even though it’s just coffee, just to tell them thank you for what you’re doing, we know that they’re saving lives and saving some of our loved one’s lives.”
Not only are frontline health care workers entering a “hot zone” of COVID-19 positive patients, they’re also taking the strain off area long-term care homes, where staff are overwhelmed by a growing number of local cases.
To date, 35 people have been transferred from long-term care homes to the temporary field hospital at St. Clair College’s SportsPlex.
DiPonti said his members in long-term care now have the breathing room to perform normal tasks for non-COVID residents at the respective homes, such as more bathing and one-on-one attention.
“They’re stressed. Some stuff normally done at the homes, they can’t do it,” DiPonti said. “People sit in the parking lot crying before they go in for the fear, and the fact they can’t provide the healthcare they signed up to do.”
Members of the community are also thanking frontline workers. Windsor resident Ronnie Haidar posted a tribute on YouTube.
Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said the field hospital team is stepping in to relieve some of the pressure at long-term care homes while also hopefully stemming the spread within the facilities.
“We’ve got to try something,” said Musyj. “Standing around with our hands in our pockets, watching this unfold is not the answer. We have to try something.”
Doctors, nurses and a whole collection of other health care staff are putting in long hours at the hospitals — with many physicians on-call throughout the night.
In fact, two physicians from Windsor Regional Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Wassim Saad, the hospital’s chief of staff.
One of the doctors who tested positive had almost no symptoms but self-isolated for 14 days. The other physician show more severe symptoms but remains in isolation and is expected to recover, according to Saad.
“It just comes naturally. When somebody is ill and somebody’s sick and you have to look after them, you’re there and you do it,” said Saad. “And yes, you are putting yourself at risk because you are front-line and there is potential you cold be infected and exposed.”
But Musyj told CTV News he’s proud of his team for rising to the challenge, despite the obvious risks associated with treating COVID-positive patients.
“They went to school for this, they trained for this, they’re heroes,” said Musyj. “This is what they do. This is it. At times of crisis, the greatest things come out of people and it’s showing here.”