Masked woman at screening counter
Stephanie Aidoo, a ward clerk in a neurology inpatient unit at Toronto Western Hospital, spent time earlier this week in a screening booth at one of the site’s entrances. (Photo: UHN)

Thank you!

That's the message from across Canada to healthcare workers on COVID-19 duty – delivered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other political leaders, UHN patients and their families, students, and people from all walks of life.

"I want to recognize all of the people on the front lines of our healthcare system," the Prime Minister told a national television audience during a news conference this week. "Whether you're a doctor, or a nurse, a hospital administrator or maintenance staff, you are doing an incredible job.

"I know that all Canadians are grateful," he said, extending his praise to all retired healthcare workers "who are putting up their hand to come back and help take care of Canadians."

As UHN – and hospitals across the country – have implemented measures in recent days as part of a national attempt to "flatten the curve" of the spread of the virus so it is more manageable for the system as a whole, there’s been no shortage of support, particularly on social media.

"You guys are amazing!!!! We applaud you," one University of Toronto student tweeted to @UHN.

An academic in southwestern Ontario added in a tweet to a number of healthcare organizations, including UHN: "A huge thank you and a virtual hug to all those working in healthcare and helping us through this. I'm so grateful we have so many brave folks leading the way."

A patient last weekend tweeted "kudos to @UHN for sending out an email to all patients asking us to avoid coming in for routine follow-up appointments. I got it JUST IN TIME – I was about to hit the button to check in for my Toronto flight. Portals rock!"

'Working with the best team @UHN'

Another patient applauded her appointment being switched to videoconferencing.

"Amazing job @pmcancentre and @uhn for so quickly adopting this new way of working!" she tweeted.

A UHN doctor tweeted a photo of a sunrise over Toronto with the message: "A beautiful morning. Feeling exceptionally grateful for incredible colleagues, residents, nurses, allied health and hospital support staff as we continue to deal with the ordinary and adapt to the extraordinary. So proud to work here. @uhn @uoftmedicine"

A UHN executive tweeted: "working with the best team @UHN makes a real difference in facing any adversity!"

Staff in UHN Infection Protection and Control (IPAC), who along with colleagues in Occupational Health have been working for weeks in anticipation of the pandemic, tweeted out a thank you to all TeamUHN for “truly banding together.

"There are still 'growing pains' and things will continue to evolve," it said. "We are just beginning on this journey but we are stronger together #teamUHN!"

Damien Cox, a sportswriter, broadcaster and TV personality, lauded all hospital employees in a tweet to his 65,000 Twitter followers: "Can we agree that when the world returns to something like normal, in addition to members of the military, it's time we spend as much effort honouring doctors, nurses and healthcare personnel at sporting events. These people are truly on the frontlines as we speak."

Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN President & CEO, concluded an Open Forum offering his appreciation, and that of Brian Porter, Chair of the UHN Board of Trustees.

"A sincere thank you to TeamUHN," Kevin said. "I want to tell you, it hasn't escaped our attention the very significant challenge and burden this places on healthcare providers and those who support them."

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