Citizen-led effort helping healthcare workers self-isolate from family
SUDBURY -- Headline: Citizen-led effort helping healthcare workers self-isolate from family
As frontline healthcare workers continue to show up to work daily despite the risks of being so close to COVID-19, a new citizen-led initiative in Sudbury is working to make sure those workers don't fear bringing the disease home.
Chris Whitehead is the proud owner of his own recreational vehicle (RV).
After hearing about a friend of his, who is working as a nurse in southern Ontario, receiving an RV donation in order to provide self-isolation from her family, he knew this was his way to give back.
"I have this RV. It's in storage, it's not doing anything," said Whitehead. "Why don't I throw that up on Facebook and see if anybody needs it?"
Whitehead connected with a local nurse in Sudbury who he said was concerned about the risk of working so closely to COVID-19 and then going home to her family.
"We can feel the struggle that they have and that concern that they have," said Whitehead. "This is something that we can do to give them a little peace of mind, so they can still be close to home but they can have comforts. They can sleep on their own. They can relax on their own."
Whitehead's friend Kim Brouzes has many friends in the local healthcare sector.
Looking for her own way to give back, she saw Whitehead's post on Facebook about sharing his RV and was inspired to grow this movement further.
"Monday morning, I put out a very simple Facebook post," said Brouzes. "It wasn't even a Facebook page, and by Tuesday afternoon/evening I had 500 shares."
Whitehead said the pair is hoping to have seven trailers temporarily donated to frontline healthcare workers who need them by Sunday.
Some of the RVs being provided are brand new.
Once Vince Palladino of Palladino RV and Recreation Centre heard of the movement, he knew he had to help.
"We had been in discussions with [Health Sciences North]," said Palladino. "They had identified a need for something like this for the frontline staff who are working so close to this awful disease and could potentially be affected. Love the idea. We were happy to help. We've got a few RV's sitting around right now because (we're) closed, so I guess it just made sense for both of us."
On Thursday morning, Whitehead dropped off his RV for cleaning at Dr. Clean Inc., a local cleaning service in Sudbury. The cleaning company has agreed to thoroughly sanitize the units before they are dropped off and after they are used.
"Go into the unit with the premise of every unit being contaminated, so we'll take the approach that it is a COVID-positive unit," said Dustin Bradley, of Dr. Clean Inc.
With so much reaction and response from the community in just a few days, Brouzes said they have developed a system in order to best match the supply with those who need it most.
"If you are a frontline worker who is directly involved with a COVID patient or COVID patients and has an immune-compromised family member at home, well they're going to get triaged first versus somebody who would just like to have a trailer just in case," said Brouzes.
Once discovering a local bylaw actually prohibits trailers being parked in residential driveways in Sudbury, Whitehead said he reached out to City Councillor Deb McIntosh Wednesday morning for support.
"By the end of the day, the city basically waived through all that red tape for us. There's going to be no issue," said Whitehead.
Whitehead said they will still need permits for the vehicles, but the city will provide those at no charge.
Brouzes says he and Brouzes have been inundated with offers of generosity from businesses throughout the community.
Jim's Portable Toilets will be offering their services for the bathrooms, Crosscut Distillery has agreed to provide sanitizer for each of the units, while Smiths Markets will be providing fruit baskets for the workers to enjoy.
"No one's making money. No one's asking for money," said Brouzes. "This is 100 per cent donated from people in the community to other people in the community and the best thing about this is it's strangers helping strangers."
If you would like more information or to find out how you can help, visit the group’s Facebook page: RV’s for Health Care Workers.