ALMONTE – Both Almonte and Carleton Place hospitals remain a safe place for care during the COVID-19 and Ontario’s second major shutdown starting Boxing Day (Dec. 26).

Registered Nurse Nicki Watkins joined the emergency department team at Almonte General Hospital (AGH) team in April – right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She says she jumped right in.

Nurse Nicki Watkins outside the Almonte hospital.
Nurse Nicki Watkins outside the Almonte hospital. Courtesy the AGH

“From day one, excellent policies were in place to keep everyone safe,” Watkins said. “This team is amazing.”

Registered Nurse Mark Gormley has worked in the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) for more than 20 years and says COVID-19 has changed almost everything – except the care provided to local communities every day.

“We were able to quickly put proper precautions in place to care for our patients,” Gormley said.

At both AGH and CPDMH, the emergency departments are open 24/7 and ready to care for patients with serious health concerns.

At each hospital, a screener at the front door asks each patient a series of questions and provides the ER team with important information.  From there, patients can be assessed and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can be isolated to a different area if necessary. All staff are wearing personal protective equipment. They change their gloves and do thorough cleanings between each patient.

Watkins has been a nurse for 10 years and worked in the ER at CHEO before coming to Almonte.

“I’m comfortable with the uncomfortable and I like the pressure of never knowing what is coming next,” she said. “If someone has an emergency and needs help, we are ready and we can help.”

Nurse Mark Gormley in head to toe PPE.
Nurse Mark Gormley of the CPDMH gives safety at the hospital a thumbs up. Courtesy the CPDMH

“We appreciate that members of our communities are taking the recommendations to stay home seriously, but it should not come at the cost of your health or safety,” Gormley said. “We don’t want patients to have worse or bad outcomes because they waited too long to come to the hospital. Don’t sit at home if you have a concern. Come and see us.”

For the latest updates about coronavirus, please visit the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit website at www.healthunit.org.  For the latest updates on what we are doing to keep patients safe, please visit our websites at www.almontegeneral.com/coronavirus and www.cpdmh.ca/coronavirus