Stories From the Frontlines: Dave Goodfellow

As COVID-19 surged through Massachusetts last spring, people across the Southcoast Health organization stepped out of their typical roles to help fight the pandemic.

Dave Goodfellow, another #SouthcoastFrontlines Hero, is the Manager of Contact Centers for Primary Care. He proved to be a valuable team player, utilizing his unique emergency management skillset from his previous roles as a Deputy Fire Chief and a Paramedic.

An experienced leader in emergencies, Dave worked closely with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and National Guard to establish the field hospital at UMass Dartmouth during the first wave of the pandemic. Helping with the overall set-up, he also prepared the logistics for providing resources and bringing primary care providers and paramedics on the scene as quickly as needed.

“We stood up that field hospital, and it was beautiful,” Dave says. “We put it up very, very quickly, and it will go up even quicker if ever needed again, now that we have the knowledge base.”

Luckily, the hospitals were not overwhelmed to a point that patients were moved to the field hospital, and it was able to be taken down as the initial surge subsided.

Moving into the summer months, Dave was part of the management team responsible for implementing screening processes to keep both patients and employees safe at Southcoast hospitals.

“We limited the number of entrances to care centers, making it easier to screen people entering our facilities,” Dave says. “Each person was asked screening questions and monitored by thermal imaging to protect the health of others inside.”

Dave additionally helped open, manage, and operate COVID-19 testing sites at St. Luke’s, Charlton Memorial, Tobey, and with the Southcoast Health Wellness Van. The outdoor testing sites were constructed in tents, in which controlling the temperature proved to be hard. Some days, the internal temperature rose to over 100 degrees, with the medical professionals carrying on in full personal protective equipment (PPE) to complete the mission.

“When we first stood those up, we were short-staffed,” Dave says. Pulling people from different departments, Goodfellow himself spent many summer shifts in the tents. “At one point, I had it figured out that I swabbed well over 6,000 noses.”

Teamwork was an essential part of the pandemic response. What made the team work so well together, according to Dave, is that every person was outside of their element. Management looked at each person’s skills from their current role and their experience to help teams reach their full potential. There were many people facing tasks they had never done before, especially in the field hospital days. He recalls seeing the drive on many team members’ faces as they were determined to make it happen.

“I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many people that were just absolutely amazing,” he says.

Outside of work, Dave is very involved in the community, previously holding public office and always looking to help. Finding the silver lining throughout this difficult time, Goodfellow is thankful for his family. With both his children in their early 20s, he reflected on what a unique opportunity this year has given them to be home together.

With regard to the vaccine becoming increasingly available, he is a strong supporter of it and advises everyone to follow the science. “I absolutely think you should get it,” Dave says.

Thank you, Dave!