Toronto General Hospital says its medical and surgical intensive care unit is free of infectious COVID-19 patients for the first time since March 26, 2020, and its managers and nurses celebrate.
Denise Morris, the unit’s director of nurses, told CBC News on Wednesday that today was an emotional day. She said ICU nurses attend every day committed to caring for their patients. She added that the intensive care unit nurses are hoping to get some rest now after a tiring and hard time.
“I feel emotional that the team behind me is leaving their families and coming to work committed to their patients every day despite the fear, despite the workload and they still show up every day,” Morris said.
“Today, I’ve been emotional for 15 months, and today is my first COVID-free day and it’s a great feeling but we’re not. This group here again is the one we should celebrate,” she added, noting a group of nurses gathered behind her outside the hospital.
“We don’t have new patients with COVID. No patients with COVID. We still have some COVID patients who recover but are no longer contagious, and that’s a milestone.”
Reaching this milestone, Morris said, was a relief and testament to the work the unit has done.
“We had many successes and had some very sad times, but seeing this coming to an end is a relief to everyone, but also a great testament to the work that has been done in this unit,” he said.
“Quite frankly, we couldn’t have done it without the entire hospital.”
Morris said it has been difficult for all the nurses who work in the unit because they are not only health care providers but also become like family for patients whose relatives cannot visit them.
“These patients weren’t sick like any other patient we’ve seen before. They were a lot more sick. Also, they have to be able to support them emotionally and mentally when their families can’t come to see them,” she said.
She said the nurses really got to know the patients.
COVID-free for the first time since March 26, 2020! 🎉 This is the first time that there are no COVID patients at MSICU at the Toronto General. We are so grateful to the exceptional MSICU team! #thankyou pic.twitter.com/LGmNsF8snY
Claire Fielding, the hospital’s director of nurses, said the last infected patient was cleared by infection prevention and control practitioners at the hospital on Wednesday. This means that the patient would have been infected more than 20 days ago.
“They didn’t come today, they were cleared today. They are COVID-free until today,” she said.
Fielding said the achievement left her with “cautious optimism”.
She added that a lot of people are saying, “That’s cool. Fingers crossed. Let’s hope.”