It’s difficult to believe that we have been living through the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year. It’s even more difficult to adequately thank and appreciate those who have been fighting tirelessly to curb the spread of the virus and care for those impacted.
Impact on our Community
Since SHN identified our first COVID-19 patient in late February of 2020, our courageous frontline team members have been making immense sacrifices to make sure our community is taken care of. Our hospitals have tackled among the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, and our community is disproportionately impacted by the virus. Many Scarborough residents are frontline and essential workers themselves, and put the safety of others above their own. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost of higher rates of COVID-19 infections.
Based on statistics published by Toronto Public Health, 83% of the COVID-19 cases in Toronto (from mid-May to mid-July) were individuals from racialized communities – although these communities make up only 52% of the population.
Scarborough had double the share of COVID-19 cases in Toronto across every ethno-racial group – except white – compared to the overall Toronto population. Scarborough also saw hospitalization rates and ICU admission rates that were four times higher, and death rates that were two times higher.
Many Scarborough families live in multi-generational households, which increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission and accounts for a quarter of all cases. Our community also has a higher rate of chronic illnesses, such as chronic kidney disease, than the general population. The virus has a greater impact on these patients and puts them at higher risk for serious complications.
However, even with the odds stacked against us, we have been fiercely resilient.
“To say this was a challenging year would be an understatement – and yet, I’ve never been more inspired by our team,” said Elizabeth Buller, SHN President and CEO.
“Our health care workers have made enormous personal sacrifices to make sure patients have access to compassionate care and testing, without hesitation. Their selflessness and desire to help others is the reason we’ve been able to withstand this pandemic as well as we have and stay ‘Scarborough Strong.’”
Since the onset of the pandemic, SHN has implemented hospital-based and pop-up assessment centres so our community (particularly our most vulnerable neighbourhoods) has quick, local access to testing. We’ve supported staff and residents at some of the hardest-hit long-term care homes, and provided increased mental health and wellness support to our team members. We’ve innovated to provide virtual care whenever possible and facilitate patient-family visits using video calls. Delivering exceptional care drives all of our decision-making.
Your Generous Support
You – our community and supporters – also stepped up in an unprecedented way to support the work of our community hospitals.
“We couldn’t do all of this work without Scarborough behind us every step of the way. We’re grateful for this support and I’ll never forget how this community rallied together to make sure we have what we need to be successful in the fight against COVID-19,” added Buller.
During the first wave of COVID-19, SHN Foundation received over $2.7 million in donations from over 3,500 donors, including a staggering $500,000 from Scarborough’s own Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd. In addition to monetary donations, we had:
As SHN continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking forward with hope as people continue to follow public health guidelines and more vaccines become available. SHN has already administered over 13,000 vaccinations to long-term care home staff and frontline SHN team members. We will continue to be at the forefront of health care, by providing vaccines for the entire Scarborough community once they become available.
The ongoing support of our community has encouraged us to continue fighting the pandemic, and our staff are extremely grateful for the love they’ve received over the last year. By donating to SHN Foundation, you are helping to ensure we can keep Scarborough healthy by treating COVID-19 patients and funding critical renovations, upgrades and equipment purchases across our Birchmount, Centenary and General hospitals.