To our Friends and Neighbours across Scarborough,

Keeping patients, families, our team and the entire Scarborough community safe is our top priority. We continue to take extraordinary steps to ensure we evolve our planning and strategy to remain in control of the pandemic, as it is still a volatile situation.

We are writing today to provide you with an update on where we are, and what comes next. 

Here are some actions we have taken


Pop-up Assessment Centres
To support the Province’s broadened testing strategy, SHN has, and will continue to, set up COVID-19 Assessment Centres in various locations around the community to help make getting tested more accessible. We will continue to provide you with the locations and dates of these Pop-up Assessment Centres as they become available.

Assessment centres
Our Centenary and Birchmount hospitals’ COVID-19 Assessment Centres have processed thousands of tests. This keeps the burden of testing out of our Emergency departments, allowing them to keep their focus on medical emergencies. If you would like to pre-register for an assessment, click here.

Restricted entrances
To ensure people who may be at risk of having the virus are identified and receive proper medical assessment and care, only a few designated entrances are open at each of our hospitals.

Active screening
Entrances are secured by screening staff who assess potential entrants and give them identifiers as “clear to enter” or restrict their access based on likelihood of being contagious.

Visitor policy
To keep our environment safe for exceptional care, we have taken the very difficult decision to limit our visitors. To see the specific criteria for visitors, click here. We know how important it is to stay connected with loved ones when in hospital, so our Network is working with patients and families on both ends to create alternative ways to bring people together. This includes providing iPads to patients for virtual visits. Our Spiritual and Religious Care team is also on-site and making themselves available to any patient who needs companionship and comfort during their stay.

Enhanced cleaning
our rigorous infection prevention and control procedures across all of our hospital and community locations have been further enhanced. All facilities are meticulously cleaned and regularly inspected for infection control.WHAT WE HAVE INTRODUCED

Masks for all at SHN
Our teams have been working non-stop to find masks from suppliers around the world, including right here in Scarborough, to make sure that we always have enough to provide every person a mask at SHN. Staff, patients and visitors are given masks upon entry to wear at all times while they are in our hospitals.

Support for long-term care (LTC) homes
SHN has stepped up for our partners in need, sending teams of experts to conduct much needed testing and to educate LTC staff on best practices for infection prevention and control. We are also incredibly proud of our SHN staff who have volunteered to take positions in LTC in order to fill gaps in

Expansion of virtual care
A specialized Task Force was created to accelerate SHN’s ability to get our patients care in their own homes. They have produced incredible virtual care tools, which include specialized phone or video appointments and consultations, that reduce the need for patients to come to our hospitals.

Face shields for all staff
We have found suppliers of this equipment that have allowed us to outfit everyone who needs it with a face shield. Using face shields over masks while treating patients is an added level of safety that, in many cases, goes above and beyond the guidelines for care.Reintroduction of services
Premier Doug Ford recently released a new guidance document, A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic“. The announcement of this document and the guidance provided within outlines how hospitals can begin to plan for resuming certain surgeries and procedures.

This offers us a welcome opportunity to look forward by assessing our readiness for gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures. However, we must highlight that this is a framework that outlines the how not the when – directing hospitals on how to determine what is right in their communities. The Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Directive # 2, which calls for the reduction of non-essential surgeries and other health provider services, is still in effect.

With this new framework in place, SHN will build on our plan to ensure compliance with the Provincial requirements for resuming surgeries and procedures. We will take learnings from our pandemic response to review how things can be done moving forward, placing us in the best possible to position to live our values, being – compassionate, inclusive, courageous and innovative.Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE continues to pose a very difficult challenge here at SHN because there is a global shortage of many types of equipment. However, we currently have sufficient supply of PPE for all staff and our team is working closely with the Ministry of Health to pre-emptively cover any shortcomings forecasted for any supply based on our careful tracking of daily usage.

We thank the community of Scarborough with all our hearts for their contributions of equipment and supplies. Below is a table of total donation numbers (as of May 25) showing the incredible outpouring of support we have received.

Total donation numbers as of May 25

PPE donations to SHN as of May 25

The road ahead
As we emerge from this pandemic stronger together, we must continue to focus on our broader objectives. We must work even smarter and more creatively; find outside-the-box-solutions; embrace unconventional methods; challenge the status quo; make decisions carefully and swiftly; pace ourselves; and dive back into Transforming Care for our community. All while living our Values and taking care of each other – and Scarborough.

Thank you for reading and stay well.Elizabeth Buller, President and CEO signature


Elizabeth Buller,

President and CEO