Just a little over a year ago, I sat at a table in a room at Grey-Bruce Health Unit headquarters in Owen Sound with a small group of health-care leaders from the two counties that included Dr. Ian Arra.
It was the first time meeting the health unit’s Medical Officer of Health and CEO, and I remember like it was yesterday the doctor’s calm voice explaining to listeners of the first of what would become regular Virtual Town Halls that we were about to run headfirst into a once-in-a-generation public-health crisis.
And it’s that calm, reasoned, reassuring voice that has since guided our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to do so. In the frequent conversations our senior leaders have had, Dr. Arra has been instrumental in Bruce Power’s efforts to protect and keep safe our employees and everyone else working on our sites over the past 13 months. The many protocols we have put into place during COVID-19 have always been with the approval of Dr. Arra and his staff at the health unit. These days, that includes mandatory wearing of masks around our sites along with the other two Ws – washing your hands and watching your distance around co-workers. We’ve taken our Safety First value to another level throughout the pandemic, not only to keep workers safe but to set an example that goes beyond our gates and into our communities.
The super-strong partnership with the Grey-Bruce Health Unit continues in the all-so-critical vaccination process which, as Dr. Arra often says, is the final nail in the coffin of COVID-19 and saying goodbye to the pandemic. Our Vice-President of Site Services, Jennifer Edey, and her team have parlayed their skills and smarts to take the recovery centres at the Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound, the P&H Centre in Hanover, and the Davidson Centre in Kincardine and convert them into vaccination “hockey hubs”. As the supply of vaccines becomes more readily available, the hockey hubs will allow for the vaccination of 4,000-4,500 people daily. It’s a highly-efficient and safe model that has sparked interest from other health units in Ontario and across Canada.
“We are ready for the vaccine rollout,” Dr. Arra, speaking from the P&H Centre, said in early March at our latest Virtual Town Hall information session. “This pandemic has stripped us of freedoms we didn’t think much of before. (But) the vaccines provide us with a passport to be free again.
“My advice is to get any of the vaccines as soon as they’re available.”
Anyone with questions on the vaccinations and the process for getting them is encouraged to visit the Grey-Bruce Health Unit (https://www1.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/) or Health Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html) websites for the latest information. The end is near of this once-in-a-generation public health crisis, so let’s all stay the course with those three Ws, and get vaccinated as soon as the opportunity comes your way.
Your questions or concerns are always welcome, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter @jscongack.