A virtual care success story

For 33 years, Bernard Lock worked at IBM where he was tasked with standardizing the design and structure of computer operating systems. Little did Bernie know that decades later, it would be technology that would save him from COVID-19.

Bernie contracted COVID-19 from his wife Shoshana, who became ill after a trip to the mall. While managing her COVID-19 symptoms at home, it wasn’t until she received a call from a physician leading a new COVID-19 home monitoring program that Shoshana agreed to receive care from a physician.

Mackenzie Health respirologist Dr. Victoria Chan enrolled Shoshana, and later Bernie, into the program that empowers patients to monitor their symptoms and oxygen levels safely at home with regular check ins from the care team. The program acts as an early warning system for patients. When oxygen levels near a certain threshold, patients are prompted to come to the hospital for care. By providing medical care, including supplemental oxygen, sooner, patients have a better chance of recovery.

While Bernie and Shoshana eventually recovered from COVID-19 and never needed to be admitted to hospital, they credit Dr. Chan’s encouragement and daily check ins for getting them through

“Having the support of a doctor when you have a 39, 40-degree temperature, you’re sick as a dog, shaking, and suddenly you have someone explaining things to you and interacting with you, made me feel like everything was going to be okay,” said Bernie.

To date, almost 900 patients have avoided hospital admission as a result of their participation in the COVID-19 home monitoring program, and for the Locks, support from people like Dr. Chan and her team at Mackenzie Health are a big part of how they survived COVID-19.

“She was awesome,” said Bernie. “To hear her voice when we were so sick, was like an angel from the sky —that’s how valuable it was, what you guys did.”

To learn more about Dr. Chan and the COVID-19 home monitoring program, take a look at this feature in Toronto Life magazine.