Hospital CEO reflects on pandemic

·2 min read

March 11 was a sombre day at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

The date marked the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flags at both campuses flew half-staffed and staff held a moment of silence remembering over 22,000 Canadians, including nine in Chatham-Kent.

CKHA President and Chief Executive Officer Lori Marshall says the day was an opportunity for “us all to reflect on the significant impact” of COVID-19 on those who died and their families and friends."

It was a difficult day as everyone looked back at the pandemic at what Marshall calls “largest challenge in our careers.”

Personally, Marshall says her greatest challenge was making decisions that were not always popular.

“My hope in hindsight is the decisions will be respected,” she says. She’s also hopeful people will understand the health and safety of everyone involved was the “main driving force” behind them.

People still considered the hospital to be a “safe place to come,” she says.

Marshall commended staff for the “exemplary care” they have provided to patients over the course of the past year and also offered kudos to the community for its “incredible” support.The hospital stepped up mental health and well-being supports for worker feeling the strain due to pressure related to the pandemic.

From dealing with the first cases to COVID-19 testing to the opening of the mass vaccination centre, Marshall says the community and its health care workers have come a long way.

She paid special tribute to Chatham-Kent Public Health and Chatham-Kent EMS.

Marshall has been nominated for a Lerners Healthcare Champion award to recognize healthcare professionals in the region who have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top five professionals will receive $5,000 to donate to charity and Marshall has chosen purchasing new equipment for the hospital.

Citizens who wish to vote for Marshall can visit the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation webpage.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald