Knowledge from SARS helps Guelph paramedic with COVID-19 response
KITCHENER -- A superintendent at the Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service has used her experience with SARS to become a leader during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rebecca Leis worked transferring patients during the SARS outbreak.
"I was in and out of some of the hospitals in Scarborough while SARS was going on," Leis said.
Leis took that knowledge and shared it with her local paramedic service.
"It was a really good lesson for what to expect," she said.
Leis was in charge of COVID-19 information for paramedic staff.
"When we didn't know a question or something, she ended up putting a positive spin on it, always got the answer for us," Deputy Chief Leanne Swantko said. "She always did it in a really positive way."
Leis also put together a team to conduct COVID-19 tests at long-term care homes and is now helping with vaccine rollout.
"When she was available on evenings and weekends, it didn't matter what time of the day or night, if we had an issue, Rebecca was very responsive," said Marlene Jantzi with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
"Rebecca has been stepped up and really putting on the best possible face, bringing the best possible attitude to our community's response," Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum said.
Swantko said they often refer to Leis as "the COVID Queen."
Leis said her entire team is using humour and positivity to help the community feel stronger together.
"A lot of the paramedics I work with are really great and we try to keep it light when we are at work, just because it can be a difficult and challenging job at times," Leis said.