We are all aware of the importance of PPE but we need to ensure we are donning and doffing in the correct order to continue making PPE efforts effective in protecting ourselves and others. Click the images for the full poster.
Plans to go camping for the May long weekend? that won't be happening this year. The Victoria Day long weekend is a special time for Canadian's as it symbolizes the start of the warmer months ahead and the end of a long cold winter. Due to COVID-19 however, The Government of Ontario has made the decision to keep Ontario Parks closed.
Please see below Newsroom Statement from this morning: April 25, 2020
Extension required to keep people safe and stop the spread of COVID-19TORONTO --
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, issued the following statement on Ontario Parks operations in response to COVID-19:
"In order to keep Ontarians safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, our government is extending the closure of Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves to May 31, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities, access points and all public buildings.
Provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue to remain fully closed to all recreational activities.
Reservations for arrivals up to, and including, any further closure extension date will be automatically cancelled and reservation holders will receive a full refund with no penalty. We are also providing penalty-free refunds to reservation holders who wish to change or cancel their 2020 camping reservation, regardless of arrival date.
Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information.
We understand this extension may impact many Ontarians' plans during the month of May. However, the health and well-being of Ontarians is our government's number one priority. Although we are making progress to stop the spread, the virus has not yet been contained. As a result, all but essential service workers must continue to stay at home and practice physical distancing."
Ontario Takes Immediate Steps to Further Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During COVID-19 Outbreak
April 22, 2020 1:45 P.M.Office of the Premier
TORONTO — The Ontario government is making progress on the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes to help stop and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the province's long-term care homes. The government has introduced more aggressive testing, screening, and surveillance, deployed specialized teams from hospitals, public health and the home care sector, recruited additional frontline staff, and increased personal protective equipment.
Today's update was provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Heath, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"Within 48 hours of launching our Action Plan, we sent in reinforcements to further protect our most vulnerable seniors and those who care for them in our long-term care homes," said Premier Ford. "Today, we are making progress against this ruthless disease, but I want to emphasize that every option is on the table to get our long-term care homes what they need to stop the spread. That is why we intend to make a formal request for assistance from the federal government."
Since the Action Plan was announced, the government has worked swiftly and decisively to provide targeted, on-the-ground support to long-term care homes through the following measures:
The government continues to explore additional measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep vulnerable people safe, including building isolation capacity at long-term care homes.
"We must continue to act swiftly and decisively to keep our loved ones in long-term care safe, as well as their caregivers," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Our long-term care homes continue to be the front-lines of this pandemic and we must continue to work around the clock to assist all our dedicated staff during this crisis."
PRESS RELEASE APRIL 17th:
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 among the province's most vulnerable citizens and ensure frontline services can continue to be delivered in priority areas, the Ontario government has issued new temporary emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
"Every day, incredible sacrifices are being made by frontline workers in every region of the province to care for our most vulnerable citizens," said Premier Doug Ford. "In order to better protect our seniors, people with various abilities, and the homeless population, along with our heroic frontline workers, our government is adopting emergency measures to provide flexibility in a variety of staffing arrangements to help stop the spread of this terrible virus."
The Emergency Measures issued to further protect vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak include:
"Today our government is taking further action to protect both the residents and staff of retirement homes. The health and safety of retirement home residents is of the utmost importance," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. "We must stop the spread of COVID-19 and we must do everything we can to protect retirement home residents and staff."
In order to ensure there are enough paramedics and emergency medical attendants, ambulance services will have the flexibility to hire and assign college students who have not yet completed exams or graduated, to provide services appropriate to their competence level and scope of practice.
"We continue to take decisive action to contain the virus and support our heroic frontline workers during this challenging time," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Expanding the capacity of our health care workforce will support their incredible efforts to provide patients with the care they need."
With the new staffing flexibility measures, municipalities or District Social Services Administration Boards will determine where there is a local need for staffing to deliver particular services. These employers have to comply with all provincial orders, as well as any guidance and safety standards prescribed by the Ontario government for COVID-19. They are also responsible for ensuring that any staff reassigned to the new duties have the required training and skills.
"During this critical time, our local delivery partners need the flexibility to be able to respond quickly and effectively to maintain essential frontline services," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "We will continue to face these challenges together as we work to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians."
Starting today Friday April 17th, Hamilton Public Health Services, in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton’s primary care community, will open a drive-through COVID-19 testing centre at the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena (25 Hester Street) It will be open from 11 am to 3 pm this Friday to Sunday. The east and west end assessment centres remain open as well this weekend and their hours remain the same. The new drive-through testing centre will be operated by the Hamilton Family Health Team and McMaster Family Health Team and is being staffed by primary care clinicians.
The process for determining who should be tested remains the same. A referral from your doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services is required for screening and an appointment at the drive-through COVID-19 testing centre or assessment centres. The centres are adequately equipped with supplies to test more people for the disease.
As announced last week, the provincial criteria for COVID-19 testing now includes symptomatic individuals from vulnerable populations including symptomatic healthcare workers, first responders, children attending essential daycare and more. The Province continually updates these criteria so please look for an updated list at hamilton.ca/coronavirus
Increased COVID-19 testing is an important initiative to help in the management of the disease in our community. It is important to note, testing, does not lead to treatment. Everyone is encouraged to continue following public health recommendations around physical distancing, frequent handwashing and covering your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or a tissue.
There have been 2,850 visits to Hamilton’s two COVID-19 Assessment Centres and 2,270 tests have been completed since opening on March 16, 2020.
No new country/territory/area reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
• Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing yesterday, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros stressed that our "commitment to public health, science and to serving all the people of the world without fear or favour remains absolute."
• WHO has released a substantial update to its COVID-19 dashboard, offering better data visualization. The dashboard is available on the WHO COVID-19 webpage covid19.who.int/
• Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19: existing rules and regulations to protect health and reduce harm caused by alcohol such as restricting access, should be upheld and even reinforced during the outbreak.
• In India, WHO is deploying its national polio surveillance network and other field staff to help with the COVID-19 response.
• Oxygen therapy plays an extremely important role in case management
Robust action plan and new emergency order to protect the most vulnerable in long-term care homes
April 15, 2020 2:00 P.M.Office of the Premier
TORONTO — In order to better protect the most vulnerable and stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, the Ontario government has developed a robust action plan with key measures to be implemented within hours. In addition, the province has issued a new emergency order restricting long-term care staff from working in more than one long-term care home, retirement home or health care setting. These measures are being taken on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes was announced today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"We will do everything we can to protect our seniors and most vulnerable citizens because we all know they are most at risk during this pandemic," said Premier Ford. "Our three-point action plan builds on the measures we have already taken to fortify that iron ring of protection we have placed around our long-term care residents and those who care for them."
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes adds critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes, including:
Within less than 48 hours, the government will immediately act to deliver:
"This new action plan significantly enhances existing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable, including long-term care home residents and the staff who care for them," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Having significantly expanded the scope and scale of testing and made considerable progress in securing personal protective equipment, Ontario has never been better positioned to deliver on our commitment to support long-term care homes in our shared battle against this virus."
The government has also issued an emergency order directing long-term care employers to ensure their employees, including registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, kitchen and cleaning staff only work in one long-term care home. This means that employees cannot work in multiple locations such as a retirement home or other health care setting.
As a result of this order, long-term care workers who must temporarily give up a job in another care setting are protected from losing their job as they are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence. To help long-term care workers make up these lost wages, the government encourages long-term care employers to offer full-time hours to their part-time employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
To help employers cover this expense, the government is taking action to ensure long-term care homes have the flexibility and funds to rapidly hire nurses and other front-line staff they need, when they need them. These emergency funds are available to help long-term care homes cover the incremental costs of increasing hours for part-time staff to help those staff limit their work locations.
All long-term care staff continue to be subject to rigorous screening procedures and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines, including wearing surgical masks, gowns, gloves and eye protection while in homes.
We have been struggling like every other company in our industry to come up with a common sense strategy to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
What are we doing as a company?
We are sending staff to care for our clients and providing them with enough work so that they do not have to work another job to work enough hours to survive. Regular staff means that no other people will be introduced to care for these clients and that staff are not working elsewhere where they might come in contact with the virus.
Our facility contacts need to be aware of the same precautions. Part time staff are working elsewhere to make a living. This is a huge risk.
At this time we cannot provide occasional shift work.
We are trying to provide continuity and one-off shifts are no longer doable.
Our goal is to dedicate staff to facilities, and of course, to enable us to do this we must be guaranteed full time hours for our staff.
Our rates have to increase during the course of the Pandemic.
Due to staff shortages, staff are not will willing to risk their lives for the same rate of pay. Sounds dramatic, but this is a fact. This is the law of supply and demand.
Providing living quarters makes sense. The movement of people and interactions with others is how this disease spreads. The less movement the better. Seeing as hotels and RV rentals are down, check with local companies to see if they will provide accommodation for staff. Those that are able to work with this type of arrangement will.
We are trying to think out of the box to make our services work for everyone. There is no simple solution, but we are here to help.
We are in this together.
One new country/territory/area reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours: South Sudan.
• At a joint press conference and in a co-authored opinion piece, the WHO Director-General and IMF Managing Director reiterated the importance of saving lives and saving livelihoods and made it clear that the trade-off between saving lives or jobs is a false dilemma.
• Almost 90 per cent of the world’s students are now affected by nationwide school closures – that’s more than 1.5 billion children and young people. Together with UNICEF and the International Publishers Association, the World Health Organization has launched the 'Read the World' children’s reading initiative.
One new country/territory/area reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours: Falkland Islands (Malvinas).
• The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Etienne, on Friday, called for the collaboration of the private sector with countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to tackle COVID-19.
• PAHO has launched a new searchable database that contains the latest guidance and research on the COVID-19 pandemic from the Americas and affected countries worldwide.
• As China emerges from a 2 month containment phase and moves into the mitigation stage, its experience is helping countries currently at the start of the COVID-19 cycle to plan their responses better. This is explored in an interview with WHO Representative to China, Dr Gauden Galea.