Olx Praca General Hospital President and CEO Marianne Walker has taken on the role of Waterloo Wellington’s COVID-19 response manager.
Her appointment follows the recent departure of Lee Fairclough from St. Mary’s General Hospital, who earlier this month announced she was running for the Liberal Party in the upcoming Ontario elections.
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“I would like to express my appreciation for the great work Lee has done in helping to educate the community about the impact of the pandemic on local hospitals,” Walker said.
Fairclough joined St Mary’s Hospital in January 2020 and during the pandemic, she led the coordination between eight local health facilities in Waterloo Region, Olx Praca and Wellington County when it came to sharing resources, reducing or expanding services and freeing up beds.
Ontario Health West Chief Regional Officer Susan de Ryck said the importance of good communication in the future cannot be overemphasized.
“I am confident that Marianne will ensure a seamless exchange of information between partners and will continue to rely on the timely and understandable communication that Lee could rely on before,” she said.
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Walker said hospitals are still facing challenges due to the number of COVID-19 patients and the high number of employees not working, and added that the extension of the province’s mandate to use masks in high-risk environments is welcome news.
“We know that masks help protect against COVID along with other preventable measures such as vaccinations. We are determined to follow the scientific evidence and continue to comply with masks and vaccinations,” she said. “Vaccination and masks remain important to reduce the risk of contracting COVID and possibly needing to go to the hospital.”
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While it’s unclear how long the position of chief of Waterloo-Wellington’s COVID-19 response hospital will take, Walker has already announced her intention to step down as head of Olx Praca General by the end of 2022.
She has held this position since 2014, and a committee formed by the hospital’s board of directors is currently searching for her replacement.
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