Red River College has ramped up its contributions to the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak by donating more equipment, and dedicating more people and resources, to public health services throughout Manitoba.
“The need continues to grow, so our support must grow to meet it,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Interim President & CEO. “We’re especially proud of how many of our staff and students are stepping forward to put their skills and expertise to work supporting those on the frontlines of our province’s public health efforts.”
One such person is Jade Karsin, Red River College’s Director of Procurement, who has begun lending his 20 years’ experience in health-care supply chain management to Shared Health. His temporary re-assignment will help their team establish a process for health-care facilities across the province to request personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement a new warehouse space for critical medical supplies to better support the needs of the province.
“I’m proud to work for an organization that supports this greater community effort,” he says. “This experience is a great example of how different organizations can work together to really make a difference.”
To date, Red River College has donated more than 30,000 pieces of PPE to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Main Street Project, including much-needed sanitizers, gloves, masks and gowns to protect frontline health care and support workers.
Meanwhile, nearly 40 students from RRC’s Health Sciences and Nursing programs have volunteered to provide entry-point screening at local hospitals. Shared Health is in the process of converting some of these roles into paid positions.
They join the ranks of 14 students in the College’s Health Information Management program now working at Manitoba Health’s department of epidemiology and surveillance. Their job is to collect data on COVID-19 cases that will help track the spread of the virus in Manitoba.
In addition, some RRC staff who are members of the Canadian Army Reserve have accepted the call to back up frontline health workers and make themselves available to respond to floods and fires in the coming months.
Red River College is also dedicating technological assets and expertise to the fight against COVID-19. The Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM), which normally provides additive manufacturing/3D printing, reverse engineering, and advanced digital manufacturing to industry partners, recently signed up with Health Canada and the National Research Council to manufacture and supply medical equipment and/or devices if they are needed.
RRC shifted to alternative program and service delivery on March 23, and will not offer on-campus classes or hold public events until September.
The College continues to operate in accordance with public health directives and is in regular contact with the Province of Manitoba, says Dr. Watson.
As the situation is fluid, the College will revise and update its operating procedures and policies as needed. This includes the possibility of re-opening RRC campuses to classes prior to September if public health advises that it is safe to do so.
The College will continually update faculty, staff and students; the latest information will always be available at rrc.ca/coronavirus