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Over the coming weeks, Dr. Bob Howard, Former President and CEO, St. Michael’s Hospital, will interview world-class health experts to keep you and your loved ones informed and up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 developments and what St. Michael’s is doing to address the pandemic. Read a recap of episodes.


Featuring: Dr. Eliane Shore, Obstetrician Gynecologist at St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s obstetrician gynecologist Dr. Eliane Shore explains how St. Michael’s OB teams protect pregnant moms from COVID-19 before, during and after delivery. New moms can follow the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide on Instagram to get advice from St. Mike’s pregnancy and labour experts.

Featuring: Dr. James Maskalyk, Emergency Room Physician

St. Michael’s Emergency physician Dr. James Maskalyk worked on the frontlines of epidemics in Ethiopia and Sudan. In this episode, he tells us what it’s like to battle COVID-19 at St. Michael’s, from comforting patients despite masks and isolation to using meditation and meaningful action to help himself cope with stress.

Featuring: Dr. Ori Rotstein, VP of Research and Innovation at Unity Health Toronto and the Keenan Chair in Research Leadership at St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Ori Rotstein, VP of Research and Innovation at Unity Health Toronto and the Keenan Chair in Research Leadership at St. Michael’s Hospital, explains how St. Michael’s is positioning itself as an international research force in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Featuring: Fergus Cubbage, RN, Medical Surgical Intensive Care, St. Michael's Hospital

Fergus Cubbage, who has 15 years of nursing experience at St. Michael’s Hospital, tells us how he and his colleagues are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shares a typical day in the ICU, which includes protocols for donning and doffing their PPE, and ends with an uplifting story about all the support nurses have received from hospital leadership, colleagues and the St. Michael’s community.

Featuring: Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection, Prevention and Control, St. Michael's Hospital

We talk about COVID-19 overwhelming the health-care system. After all for every 100 new cases, 10-20 people will be hospitalized, and half of those will end up in the ICU. But, as Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control, who has been on the frontlines of pandemic preparedness at St. Michael’s, explains, in comparison to some other countries, Canada is better off because we’ve have more time to prepare. Still, he cautions, that doesn’t mean we can relax physical distancing measures. In this episode, Dr. Muller also sheds light on diagnostic testing and where we are in vaccine development.

Featuring: Dr. Stephen Hwang, Director, MAP Centre for UrbanHealth Solutions, St. Michael's Hospital

The closure of the community centres and meal programs and the restrictions around maintaining physical distance are compounding the stresses on people who are homeless. The cost of doing nothing about homelessness and accepting the status quo has never been more starkly apparent. Will COVID-19 force us to change how we deal with this pressing issue? Dr. Stephen Hwang, Medical Director of MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, talks about the challenges and what St. Michael’s scientists are doing to end chronic homelessness.

Featuring: Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of Family Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital
Linda Jackson, Senior Clinical Program Director for Primary and Community Care, St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Linda Jackson, Senior Clinical Program Director for Primary and Community Care, talk about how family practice is changing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the hospital’s six family health team clinics are protecting patients, health-care providers and the community by conducting patient visits by phone or video conferencing wherever possible.

Featuring: Dr. Arthur Slutsky, Former Vice-President of Research, St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Art Slutsky, one of the world’s leading experts on mechanical ventilation and acute respiratory distress syndrome, explains what ventilators do and why they’re essential to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Featuring: Dr. Joel Lockwood, Emergency Physician and Trauma Team Leader, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Paul Das, Family Medicine Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Paul Das, a family physician, and Dr. Joel Lockwood, an emergency physician and trauma team leader, share what it took to get the Assessment Centre up and running, how it works, who should go and when you should go directly to emergency instead.

Featuring: Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital

This week, Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine, talks about how life and procedures have changed in one of the country’s busiest emergency departments to get ready for the influx of COVID-19 cases, and the unsung heroes who are on the frontlines and behind of the scenes at St. Michael’s.

Featuring: Dr. Tom Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital

This week, Dr. Tom Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, talks about how to maintain good mental health during a pandemic and what to do if you’re not coping. He also reminds us of the importance of “social connection” in an age of “physical (not social) distancing.”


I hope you and your family are in good health and in good spirits. This week, I have an exciting new initiative to share with you.

Over the last two months, more than 2,300 of you have given a remarkable $10.65 million to St. Michael’s Courage and Power Funds. Your donations are a testament to this community’s relentless spirit of compassion.

You’ve made sure our frontline health-care teams have a safe place to sleep at night, so they don’t put their own families in danger. You’ve made sure that our homeless community has food and clothing. You’ve made sure our palliative care patients have tablets to connect with loved ones who can no longer be by their sides. And you’ve made sure our scientists have what they need to find ways to stem the spread of the virus, design new treatments and develop programs that will change how residents in long-term care facilities are treated....

Your support for our Mother’s Day campaign has been equally amazing. You sent more than 250 virtual hugs to your moms, loved ones and friends. Each hug you sent meant more funding for St. Michael’s cuddling program, where volunteers cuddle fragile newborns when their own families can’t. Because the campaign was so successful, we’re extending it, so if there is someone you’d like to send a hug to for any reason, just click here.

May 11-17 is National Nursing Week, and what better time is there to shine a spotlight on our courageous nurses, who stop at nothing to provide compassionate care to every single patient? The celebration marks the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. So please join me in thanking the nurses in our lives for their tireless efforts, day in and day out, to take such good care of us, especially during this extraordinary public health crisis.

On behalf of all of us at the Foundation, I wish you and your family a great, relaxing holiday weekend.


Lili Litwin
President, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation


The St. Michael’s community says THANK YOU to our courageous health-care teams who are stopping at nothing to care for us as they tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Want to show your appreciation? Send us a video with your words of encouragement and we’ll pass it on! Email Andrea Smith at or tag us on social #THANKS4STMIKES.

Erin and Sasha have teamed up with musician Drew Badali to hold a charity children’s music class on Instagram Live @musicwithdrew

Canzona Chamber Players Concert for Courage Fund

Erin Quinn, St. Michael’s Young Leader Fundraiser

#Thanks4StMikes from our community of Canada Helps donors

Our Leaders say #THANKS4STMIKES

St. Michael's Hospital Foundation, Quaranteam


Have your kids or grandkids create a card with a message of thanks that can be given to a hospital worker! They can decorate it any way they like. We will pass the cards on to those staff who have done something above and beyond in their relentless efforts to keep our community safe. To get involved, contact Fiona MacAlpine at

Take some time at home to exercise your body, mind, spirit ...and culinary skills.


Coronaviruses are viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some spread easily between people, others don’t. On Dec. 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus referred to as COVID-19 through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

The disease can pass from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth that are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around them. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

If you have symptoms or are worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to take the Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to determine if you need to visit an assessment centre or self-isolate at home.

St. Michael’s Hospital has opened an Assessment Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at 38 Shuter St. to provide screening and assessment for our community. It is equipped with proper precautions such as hand hygiene stations and isolated spaces for those being assessed for COVID-19.

If you have relevant risk factors, your care team will wear protective equipment and place you in a room separate from other patients. After a careful review, a decision will be made as to whether you need testing, where this should be done, and whether you need to go to the emergency department or be admitted to hospital. Patients with very mild symptoms may be sent home with instructions to isolate at home while awaiting test results and will be followed by public health. For more information about assessment, go to Unity Health Toronto’s information page.

To reduce exposure and transmission, you should:

  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • cover your cough with a tissue or sneeze in your elbow
  • frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces
  • self-isolate for at least 14 days after travelling outside the country

For more detailed information on the status of the virus and risk to Canadians, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada or Ontario Ministry of Health websites.

As a reminder, if you are concerned about your symptoms and/or worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to connect with Toronto Public Health and your primary health care providers close to home; this will help keep our Emergency Department resources available for trauma and emergent care patients.

You can call Toronto Public Health’s Hotline at 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, call 311 and ask for Toronto Public Health.


If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use The Ontario Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.

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