Coronavirus: Sainte-Justine hospital staff produce visors to protect front-line workers

Coronavirus: Montreal hospital employees pitch in to help make protective visors
WATCH: Sainte-Justine hospital employees who usually spend their days making and fixing orthotics, prosthetics and wheelchairs have been given a new task. They are now focused on making visors for front-line workers. Global’s Kwabena Oduro reports.

At the CHU Sainte-Justine’s Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre, staff have come together to produce visors for their hospital co-workers dealing with novel coronavirus patients.

In a basement workshop of the hospital, employees are making 1,600 visors a day.

The staff at the centre usually work to provide rehabilitation for children, designing and building prosthetic equipment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been reassigned to produce hospital supplies, making special visors for front-line health-care workers.

“Here at Marie Enfant, everyone is mobilized to work as a team in a way that we can do something that will help the other staff that are at Sainte-Justine that are directly in contact with the clientele,” Claude Nadeau, the centre’s co-ordinator, told Global News.

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As soon as they learned of the need for personal protective equipment, the team jumped into action. They already had some of the supplies they needed, such as plastic and elastic bands, which made it easier to design the rest.

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“We came up with adding a foam to protect the forehead and having nothing close to the nose,” said prosthetic mechanic François Leroux. “We are taking the elastic, clipping both sides, gluing a piece of foam and it’s already done. So it was pretty easy but we had to find the fastest way to do it on a low budget.”

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Other hospital centres are contacting Sainte Justine Hospital to see how they, too, can design these shields.

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“We respond to them by sending them pictures of our demos, our suppliers and what we are exactly doing,” says Nadeau.

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One challenge, though, is physical distancing.

“We are so used to working really close to each other, so we have to just stay aware that to distance ourselves from our colleagues for their own and our own sercurity as well,” said orthotic and prosthetic technician Lauriane Pomerleau.

There’s a rewarding feeling among staff knowing they can build this many visors and help their hospital colleagues.

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“The feeling of it, to put them in the box, to counting, to be able to see the team effort at the very end and the numbers we can pull up in one day — that’s really great. Because we know we are doing something to help others,” Pomerleau said.

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Sainte-Justine says staff will continue to build the visors to ensure its workers are protected when coming in contact with patients.