It’s been almost one year since Bruce Power hosted the first of what would become a series of Virtual Town Halls that included public health and health-care officials in Grey and Bruce counties providing the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic to the people in our communities. For many of those people listening on a social media channel or on their local radio stations or community television stations that evening, it was quite likely the first time they’d heard from Dr. Ian Arra.
Almost 12 months later, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Grey Bruce Health Unit is a household name. Thanks to the guidance from Dr. Arra, with the support of his staff at the health unit, we have seen Grey Bruce emerge as a success story in Ontario for protecting the majority of its residents (and visitors when they’ve been allowed) from contracting a deadly virus that has resulted in the deaths of almost 2.4 million people around the world as of mid-February. There’s strength in numbers and that’s especially true when it comes to the efforts being undertaken in fighting COVID-19 here at home.
“Emergencies bring people together,” Dr. Arra told a local newspaper in December. “We have seen both businesses and individuals volunteering their time or their resources.”
At Bruce Power, we’re extremely proud of the way our employees have stepped up on behalf of their families, their co-workers, their neighbours and people in our communities who have needed a hand. By procuring more than 2.5 million pieces personal protective equipment (PPE), providing more than $1 million to local food banks and other organizations in need, constructing pop-up hospitals in local community centres in case of an outbreak, working with the health unit to distribute accurate information, our people have done what they can to support health-care and front-line workers, local businesses and families in need.
Collaboration and communication have been critical in keeping our cases numbers down in Grey Bruce. The name of this column (Community Matters) has taken on extra meaning for Bruce Power during the pandemic as we’ve spoken frequently with Dr. Arra to make sure we are taking the necessary precautions to keep our workers safe and continue to provide electricity across the province, and to let him know that ‘we’re here to help’. Dr. Arra has provided incredible leadership and demonstrated that we are stronger when working together by bringing together every asset in the region to fiercely tackle COVID-19.
The final push to ending this pandemic is underway with vaccinations and we’re proud to have a seat at the table with the Grey Bruce COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and as a partner with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Facebook Canada in launching the Ontario Vaccination Support Council. We continue to support Dr. Arra and the health unit: please keep an eye out in your mailbox for our Community Update: Powering Ontario Through COVID-19 newsletter with information on the vaccine rollout.
As always, please contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions. You can also follow me on Twitter @jscongack.