We’ve taken the appropriate measures to be prepared for COVID-19 and we’re here for the residents of North Grenville,” is the message from Kemptville District Hospital (KDH).
“KDH has taken a number of steps to ensure that during the COVID-19 pandemic the hospital remains as safe as possible for our patients, staff and visitors,” said its CEO, Frank Vassallo.
These steps include screening everyone entering the building and isolating those patients who are symptomatic for respiratory illness from those who aren’t, training all staff on appropriate use of personal protective equipment and assuring there are adequate supplies, and augmenting cleaning and dis- infection procedures.
Consistent with guidance from the Ontario Ministry of Health, KDH is carefully scaling back non-urgent surgeries, procedures, and outpatient programming and clinics. These measures have been taken so the hospital is ready to take on potential COVID-19 cases and ensure the safety of patients, families and its workforce throughout the pandemic.
The hospital’s Emergency Department remains open 24/7. “We are open and here to treat anyone experiencing an emergency – whether CO- VID-19 related or otherwise,” said Dr. Jonathan Rathwell, KDH’s Chief of Emergency Medicine.
“However,” he cautioned, “people should be aware that the health system is strained right now and everyone can help by not coming to the ER unnecessarily. If you are well, or have a chronic, nonurgent issue, you should do your best to stay out of the ER and contact your primary care provider.”
In addition, people should not come to the ER simply to get tested for coronavirus, Dr. Rathwell said, as that will overwhelm the system and there is no need in most cases. People who suspect they may have COVID-19 should contact Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000), their local public health unit, or their primary care provider for assistance in determining whether they need to be seen and assessed or tested.
“Please do not present directly to the emergency department, as most people with COVID-19 can selfcare at home and do not need medical attention,” said Dr. Rathwell. “This will help protect resources and other more vulnerable patients who do need emergency care.”
If and when the need to treat COVID-19 cases increases, KDH has developed contingency plans to deal with greater volumes of people made ill by the virus. CEO Vassallo noted that planning for larger-scale assessment and treatment of COVID-19 is in collaboration with the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit.
KDH’s VP of Nursing and Clinical Services took the opportunity to commend the hospital’s clinical staff for their efforts during the pandemic: “Our nurses, doctors, rehab team, and lab staff have really risen to the occasion,” she said. “I am so grateful for their professionalism and compassion during these extraordinary times.”
Frank Vassallo added his thanks to the rest of the KDH workforce, including dietary, IT, maintenance, environmental services, and support staff. “I can’t express how proud I am of the way everybody is pulling together,” he said. “I am also grateful to our regional health service partner organizations in Eastern Ontario that continue to work together to provide seamless service delivery in our region, whether it is to address the high priority needs of COVID-19, or any other health matter that arises”.
The KDH website’s COVID-19 page is being updated on a daily basis; the public are encouraged to check for further alteration of services as the situation evolves: