Physician Lead, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC)
Dr. Johnstone is the physician lead for the IPAC team, which is responsible for monitoring and preventing infection across Sinai Health. During the pandemic, she’s been leading a provincial committee setting strategy and priorities for COVID-19 testing, while simultaneously being responsible for keeping Sinai Health patients and health care workers safe.
“The challenge in the first wave, understandably, was there was so much unknown, and consequently there was a lot of fear. COVID-19 was a new threat, and we were preparing for something unfamiliar. So we were quickly developing new policies, new approaches — all from scratch.
“Before the second wave hit last fall, we worked together to develop an ‘outbreak mitigation tool kit,’ a multi-disciplinary, multi-pronged approach to make sure we had addressed any infection control gaps. This proved essential, as during the fall and early winter, our hospitals were busier than in wave one. We were the receiver of many patients, as we continued to admit not only our own patients, but also those from other hospitals that were overwhelmed.
“So the hospital was full. And of course, the more people you have around, the more opportunity there is for COVID-19 to spread.
“Just having lived it — the pandemic put a lot of stress on the health care system. It exposes whether you can or can’t work together, and I feel as a team, we have passed with flying colours. Despite the challenges, both Mount Sinai and Bridgepoint have functioned extraordinarily well. Through all of it, our team approach has come through. I am so proud to work at Sinai Health, because it truly was an all-hands-on-deck, let’s-work-together approach.”