CEO of CKHA reflects on one year anniversary of pandemic

·2 min read

A year into a global pandemic, the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 still significantly impacts many hospital workers at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Lori Marshall, CEO of CKHA, reflected on the loss of life and said the experience had hit her employees hard. She said the pandemic had been the biggest challenge of many employees’ careers.

“Each one of those people had a family, friends, and a story,” said Marshall.

The first COVID-19 patient was admitted to the hospital on March 18, 2020. Marshall said the hospitals had been forced to adapt several times to deal with the virus quickly.

As a result, the COVID-19 Unit was established on March 27, the field hospital at St. Clair College was set up in April, and mobile testing was launched in June.

Marshall said having to adjust constantly and pivot has made work conditions extremely challenging for her employees.

The president and CEO of CKHA, who has recently been nominated as a Lerners Healthcare Champion (a program meant to recognize Southwestern Ontario professionals in health care and rehabilitation who have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic), said her biggest personal challenge over the past year was overcoming decisions that were sometimes unpopular within the organization. Despite having to make the tough calls, she said they were all made in the community’s best interest at large.

“It is my hope at the end of the day that those decisions, in hindsight, will be respected and that people know that I’ve always had the health and safety of not only our population but everyone who works and practises at CKHA as my driving force in all that we have done at CKHA,” said Marshall.

According to Marshall, CKHA has made several investments to support mental health issues among her staff caused by COVID-19.

Marshall also said there had been several accomplishments at the hospitals during the past year. She added her staff and volunteers had shown great dedication. She also thanked the community for its support, patience and understanding.

Local public health officials also reported seven new cases and one resolved case for a total of 46 active cases on March 11.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News