Thanks to Island generosity, hospital ventilator campaign far surpasses its $80,000 goal

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Allows MHC to purchase additional ‘leading edge’ technology

MANITOULIN – After the highly successful fundraising campaign for the purchase of four new ventilators, which surpassed the original fundraising goal thanks to the generosity of the entire Manitoulin Island community, Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) has been able to purchase additional leading-edge equipment that will assist the two Island hospitals not only through COVID-19 but in the future as well. The ventilators are expected to be delivered to MHC as early as next week. 

“Absolutely, none of these (purchases) of this leading-edge technology medical equipment would be possible without the very generous donations of all those in the Manitoulin community,” stated Lynn Foster, president and chief executive officer of MHC, this past Tuesday. “Close to $200,000 was raised in the fundraising campaign and is why (MHC) looked at purchasing other leading-edge technology medical equipment. It was the entire Island community coming together to provide the resources that we are able to do this. As we all know, this is an awesome community,” said Ms. Foster. 

“We have heard that the ventilators will be arriving sometime in the next week,” Ms. Foster told the Recorder. The four ventilators will mean two ventilators each will be added to the two local hospitals (Little Current and Mindemoya, each of which already had one each previously).

However, “we haven’t received a firm date on the UV (ultraviolet) equipment we have purchased. She explained two UV towers have been purchased from Prescientx. “The two towers, called Asept.2x are two towers that are on wheels and can be moved from one room into another after a patient has been discharged, and these towers basically disinfect the room. The vendor has told us this equipment will be here in a week or so and we are trying to arrange for staff training on the equipment.”

As well, “terminator (UV) equipment is in production and awaiting final approval from Health Canada,” continued Ms. Foster. “We purchased this piece of equipment pending Health Canada approval, and this equipment reprocesses (disinfects) used N95 masks and other equipment.”

While these UV equipment pieces were purchased focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the UV equipment can be used in the future as well in support care for patients and visitors because they are designed to get rid of all bacteria in a room and sterilize used N95 masks. 

Dr. Maurianne Reade told the Recorder after the Manitoulin health and municipal leadership committee meeting last week, “a number of members of the committee wanted information on when the ventilators will be here. We were told they will be here sometime during the first week of June.”

“The total of $197,000 that was raised through the fundraising campaign will go towards the new ventilators and other items all directed to COVID-19 support including the ultraviolet cleaning and repurposing,” said Dr. Reade. “We are all very happy with the generous support that was provided by the entire Island community.”

Tim Vine, chief financial officer and vice-president of corporate support services at MHC also updated the Recorder on the COVID-19 field hospital that is being constructed in the NEMI Recreation Centre. “We’re still working away on it, toward being in a state of readiness so that we’re 48 hours from being operational, if there is a COVID-19 surge and we go above capacity beyond our current normal operating beds in the hospital.”

He said if need necessitated it, work on the field hospital would be accelerated. MHC is using its own human resources for this work and MHC has not yet received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health for the field hospital and funding will only be provided if a surge in COVID-19 cases puts it into operation. 

Dr. Reade pointed out various local communities are working on supportive care centres to be set up on the Island.