July 15, 2020

Walk-in clinic owners give out 25,000 masks after fielding calls from patients without

Link to story on CBC.ca by Joe Pavia – Jul 15,2020

“Patients called the clinic requesting masks after mandatory regional bylaw

The owners of three walk-in clinics in Waterloo and Kitchener are distributing 25,000 disposable masks to people who need them.

Rex Mohammed says he and his wife, Meera, took action after receiving a number of requests from people who needed a face covering.

The couple has purchased masks from a supplier, and will hand out them out at their locations at Westmount Place Walk-In clinic on Westmount Road, which is also a COVID-19 assessment centre; the Waterloo Walk-In Clinic on University Avenue; and the K-W Walk-In at the Boardwalk in Kitchener.

“When the [region’s mandatory mask] rules came in effect, we noticed a lot of patients and a lot of the random public would call in and request if we had any masks,” said Mohammed.

“They were having difficulty going for groceries and they did not have any masks. They wanted to come to the clinic but they didn’t have masks. They want to go get their prescriptions, they don’t have masks.So I said, ‘We’ve got to do something.'”

Mohammed says one disposable mask will be available daily for people who really need it.

‘You need to act to make a difference’

The walk-in location at Westmount Road was one of the first COVID-19 assessment centres that opened in the region for testing, Mohammed says. He said they’re now testing between 100 and 200 people a day.

Staff have also provided transportation to people who need a drive to get a test. About 180 people have taken them up on the offer, he said.

This isn’t Mohammed’s first time witnessing a pandemic. When he was a university student during the SARS outbreak in Toronto he watched members of his family in the medical field testing and attending to patients who were ill.

“One thing I’ve learned from that first experience is if you sit on it you will never be able to make a difference,” said Mohammed.

“If you act on it right away. You possibly will be able to tackle it down.” ”

Joe Pavia · CBC News ·

July 14, 2020

Walk-in clinic owners handing out free masks

Link to story in Waterloo Chronicle by Johanna Weidner – Jul 14, 2020

“Disposable mask available to anyone who can’t afford one now that they’re mandatory in Waterloo Region

WATERLOO REGION — Free face masks are being handed out by the owners of three local walk-in clinics, including a COVID-19 testing site.

They bought 25,000 disposable face masks that will be available starting Wednesday at the Waterloo Walk-In Clinic at 170 University Ave. W. in Waterloo and the K-W Walk-In Clinic at 100 The Boardwalk in Kitchener.

“Somebody had to do something,” said Rex Mohamed, who owns the clinics with his wife Meera Mohamed.

People calling to book a COVID-19 assessment at the Westmount Place Walk-In Clinic were saying they didn’t have a mask, which is now required in indoor public spaces and on transit in Waterloo Region.

“You could feel the frustration,” Mohamed said. “Luckily we were able to source out a supplier.”

He is hoping their mask giveaway will encourage others to do the same as well to ensure everyone has access to a mask, in particular if they can’t afford to buy one.

“They’re very appreciative,” Mohamed said of those who have received a mask.

People are asked to only take one mask, due to the strain on personal protective equipment supplies during the pandemic. They’re available while supplies last during regular clinic hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., but not at the testing clinic because that site sees patients by appointment only.

The couple have also been providing free transportation to the testing centre for anyone who needs it.

“Whatever we can do,” Mohamed said.”

Johanna Weidner is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via email: [email protected]
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