Supporting Individuals and Families in Coping with Covid-19

Written by: Bernadette Lettner, Registered Nurse

Since November, 2020, the Covid Resource Team (CRT) has been working to support people who test positive for Covid-19. Comprised of nurses, health promoters, social workers, case managers, counsellors, project coordinators, drivers and the infectious disease team at Michael Garron Hospital, the CRT links hospital-based testing to community agencies and supports. Through these links, we can connect with and support people by offering practical resources to manage the unequal burden of Covid-19 infection in Toronto.

The integrated web of people and resources that hold up, and hold together, communities is very apparent when doing this work. Relationships and resources are strained by the physical separation that happens when people must remain at home in isolation or quarantine, but the many places we turn to for help, comfort and care are also revealed.

Through regular phone calls, the CRT provides symptom management, personal protective equipment and grocery deliveries, financial support, counselling, settlement services and a wide array of other services. To be able to do this work, the CRT has developed relationships with many community organizations, including East End Community Health Centre, The Neighbourhood Organization, Health Access Thorncliffe Park, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, and the East Effort Fund. Between November 2, 2020 and March 31, 2021, over 2,695 people were helped and new referrals are accepted daily.

We have seen first-hand that high vaccination rates have an impact. Many long term care, shelter, and group home residents in east Toronto have received at least a first dose of vaccine and have avoided the outbreak conditions seen in so many areas of the city. Other areas have seen the emergence of pop-up vaccine clinics, specifically designed to bring vaccination to areas with the highest rates of community transmission. Every single vaccination makes an impact – perhaps the biggest impact we can make right now.

Throughout the vaccine rollout, we will continue to support people who contract Covid-19, and ensure that we move towards health together. We started with a small team and a big vision, and it has been incredible to see how the CRT has grown and evolved. The connection and mutual support that has developed as a result of listening and responding to community needs will remain strong, and the ripples of these care-filled connections will carry us through this wave and beyond.

COVID-19 Case Management Support

Since early November, SRCHC has been providing comprehensive case management support to people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 through Michael Garron Hospital and its pop-up testing sites. With surge funding received through Michael Garron Hospital, existing staff were redeployed and two new nurses were hired to support the project. East End CHC and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Organization/Health Access Thorncliffe Park are also project partners.

The project’s aim is to provide assistance to people who have challenges with the required isolation and quarantine periods due to their social isolation and/or poverty. Case managers provide clinical support and symptom management, as well as coordinate delivery of fresh groceries, offer system navigation and make referrals to other services. Helping people to cope with the anxiety and stigma of a COVID diagnosis is also a big part of the work, as is support around grief and loss.

From November 2, 2020 to January 20, 2021, the project received 250 referrals and supported 1,067 individuals. Each referral has an average of five other family members who are also supported. Many people live in communities, like Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park and Warden Woods, that have been hard-hit by COVID and referrals are closely linked to new and emerging outbreak or hot spot areas. As a result, the case management team works intensively in many neighbourhoods to provide both support and education.


Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2018

Newcomers and Family Team Cheering Station

Thank you to the 50 people who braved the cold and to support the runners with cheer sticks, posters, whistles, noise makers, drums and pom poms! We are proud to share that we came in as one of the top cheering stations.

Coxwell & Lakeshore Boulevard
Supporting the Scotiabank Marathon runners
Cheering Squad
Joy of Dance troupe