Mark Clairmont |

BRACEBRIDGE — Together apart.

That was emergency workers on both sides of the pandemic front line here this afternoon, as firefighters, paramedics and police surrounded South Muskoka Memorial Hospital (SMMH) to deliver a siren salute, in recognition of health-care workers inside — including dozens who came out onto the sidewalk and grassy roundabout area in a spray of rain.

“It’s like a lottery,” said one of them wearing scrubs and a mask and who took a 10-minute timeout to stand apart at the front entrance to wave, cheer and shout “thank you.”

Sirens wailed and red and blue lights lit up SMMH as more than a dozen fire trucks, EMS ambulances and OPP cruisers pulled up to the hospital about 2:30 p.m. and did a victory lap in appreciation of their appreciative colleagues.

The vehicle hug and show of solidarity was unlike at other times when these vehicles roar into the parking lot in times of emergency.

“It feels fantastic. …. Lots of community support. … It’s a wonderful thing,” said two masked workers separated by six feet and a huge sign made out of a chunk of cardboard.

The message was simple and heartfelt.

Big black letters that read: “We thank you” and were surrounded by six white hearts that bled their innermost feelings.

While not totally spontaneous, the workers got a bit of a “heads up” about the short parade that massed downtown and was supposed to parade through downtown up to Ann Street, but in a change of plan slipped down a nearby sidestreet.

“We work together as such a great team in this community, it’s not a surprise,” they said.

It was a short and sweet tribute much appreciated by the workers, who said the mood inside the hospital is “a pretty tense.”

But “we’re doin’ it. … We’re getting it done.”

More than a dozen emergency vehicles participated in the 10-minute drive-by April 3 at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital this afternoon.

Dozens of hospital workers came outside in a spray of rain to thank their colleagues in a show of solidarity.

The front of the hospital was a sea of red and blue lights and sirens today in a show of solidarity.

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