COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Health-care Providers

SHUTDOWN

Effective December 26, 2020

Learn More

Most health care services may continue to operate during the provincial shutdown period. Please refer to the Province of Ontario’s Provincewide Shutdown document (page 20) for a detailed list of healthcare organizations and services that may continue providing services during the provincial shutdown period.

This section contains information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) designed to support local health-care providers. Lambton Public Health provides recommendations and resources based on best practices, available evidence, and in the interest of employee and community health. The COVID-19 situation and Ontario Ministry of Health recommendations for health-care professionals are evolving rapidly. Please check this webpage frequently for updates.

Long-term Care & Retirement Home Providers

Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes should contact their infectious disease representative at Lambton Public Health with any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.

View more information and guidelines for long-term care and retirement homes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine available?

Health Canada has authorized the first two COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

On December 9th, Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine: The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.  More information on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available on Health Canada’s website.

Health Canada is closely tracking all potential vaccines in development.  In order for a vaccine to be approved in Canada it must go through a rigorous approval process

The Ontario Government has identified key groups for the initial distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.  For more information on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination roll out process, visit the Ontario Government’s vaccine information webpage.

For more information visit LPH COVID-19 vaccine page for updates.

Where is the best place to find up-to-date COVID-19 information for health-care providers?

The Ontario Ministry of Health has produced guidance documents on COVID-19 for a number of health care partners and sectors. Please review this page frequently as the guidance for the health care sector is updated regularly.

What is the clinical case definition for COVID-19?

The Ministry of Health has stated the current case definition for COVID-19 here.

A list of symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19 as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Health can be found here.

What are the current infection prevention and control (IPAC) recommendations for COVID-19?

Public Health Ontario has developed an Infection Prevention and Control Assessment for Primary Care, Specialty and Walk-in Clinics During COVID-19  More information on PPE can be found on Public Health Ontario’s COVID-19 webpage

Where can I access screening tools for COVID-19?

The Ontario Ministry of Health has a COVID-19 screening checklist to support Health Care Providers in their screening practices for all patients.There is an additional screening guidance document to support Long-term Care and Retirement Homes in their screening practices for residents.

The Ministry of Health also developed a COVID-19: self-assessment tool to help members of the public determine how to seek further care.

Passive screening in the form of signage is part of the guidance for health-care facilities. Signs are available to download for both patients and visitors. 

Who should be tested for COVID-19 and where?

For information on who should be tested and the management of those who have not been tested, review this document from the Ministry of Health. Low risk, asymptomatic individuals should NOT be considered for COVID-19 testing at this time.

Public Health Ontario has also provided more detailed COVID-19 testing guidelines, including specimen requirements, as well as updated guidance on Asymptomatic Testing in Pharmacies.
 
For more information on locations, hours of testing centres, and booking appointments, see the Lambton Public Health COVID-19 testing web page. To determine which COVID-19 testing facility best meets the needs of you or your patients, consult Lambton Public Health’s Access to COVID-19 Testing flowchart

To support patients with mobility concerns requiring COVID-19 testing, the Community Paramedicine Program is available for mobile testing. Please contact Lambton Public Health for more information.

Guidelines & tips for operating your primary care practice during COVID-19

The Ministry of Health has stated that all primary care providers are encouraged to implement virtual and/or telephone consultations when possible. When possible, conduct a phone consultation to determine if a virtual/telephone or in-person appointment is necessary. Ontario has approved new physician billing codes for telephone assessments, enabling doctors to conduct more assessments over the phone rather than in the clinic. Find more information about the reopening of primary care practices in the Ontario Ministry of Health guidance document for primary care providers.

A comprehensive guide for reopening your office is available from the Ontario Health South West Non-Hospital Pandemic Response Table. Additional tools can be found on the South West COVID Tools Website.

Guidance for providing immunization services during COVID-19 are available from the Ministry of Health.

Visit OntarioMD for resources and tips on how to provide virtual care.

When should health-care workers stay home?

If a Health Care Worker (HCW) develops any common and/or less common COVID-19 symptoms, whether prior to or during a shift, they should wash their hands, go home, immediately notify their supervisor, and self-isolate.
The Ontario Ministry of Health states that:
  • “Symptomatic HCWs awaiting testing results must be off work
  • Asymptomatic HCWs awaiting testing results may continue to work using the appropriate precautions recommended by the facility, which will depend on the reason for testing” 

When should health-care workers return to work?

The Ontario Ministry of Health has created two approaches to clearing COVID-19 cases:

Non-Test Based Approach – 
• waiting 10 days from symptom onset (or 14 days from when swab was taken if persistently asymptomatic).
• Waiting 20 days from symptom onset for those with severe illness (requiring ICU level of care or severe immune compromised)

This means waiting 10 days from symptom onset (or 14 days from when swab was taken if persistently asymptomatic).

Test Based Approach – This means obtaining two consecutive negative specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
 
Health Care Workers (HCWs) should follow isolation and clearance with a non-tested based approach unless they have required hospitalization during the course of their illness. If hospitalization occurred, a test based approach is preferred.
Symptomatic HCWs awaiting test results must be off from work. If a HCW is asymptomatic and awaiting a test result, they may continue to work as long as appropriate precautions recommended by the facility are used.

Please note that some HCWs may be directed to have a test based clearance by their employer.
A HCW that requires a referral for a second COVID-19 test to return to work should contact either their place of employment or their primary care provider.
 
For more information on when a HCW can return to work, including exceptional circumstances, please refer to page 4 of the Quick Reference Guidance on Testing and Clearance.

Can my patient receive health-care if they haven’t received OHIP benefits yet?

Ontario is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. The province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage. Together, these measures will ensure that no one will be discouraged from seeking screening or treatment for COVID-19 for financial reasons. Learn more from the Government of Ontario.

Where can patients access care for urgent medical needs other than the hospital?

Rapids Family Health Team Access to Care Centre continues to be open for episodic medical conditions (e.g., urinary tract infections, ear aches, rashes, etc.). If a patient is unwell and can’t get in touch with their primary care provider, they can access care during the following hours:
Monday thru Thursday 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday 8am-noon
CALL 519-491-6188

Good Doctors Clinics 
Patients can now visit with a doctor by calling (888) 930-6571 OR texting (705) 910-7799. Most common issues can be resolved directly through a phone or video call with a doctor from home.

Wiltshire Walk-In Clinic
Patients who would like to check-in to our walk-in clinic, please stay home and TEXT (519) 491-1922 with your name with the best phone number to reach you and we will contact you shortly when your turn is up.

MD Connected
Virtual appointments are now available to ALL residents of Ontario. Connect to a doctor from the comfort of home through the MD Connected app. It is available for download on Google Play or Apple Store with an invite from MD Connected. Visits can also be completed through a secure online portal.

Our OHIP-covered virtual services have been expanded to include: 
• COVID-19 Screening
• Dermatologist Consultation
• Pediatrician Consultation
• Mental Health Consultation
• Medical Cannabis Consultation
• HIV PrEP and PEP Consultation
• Ketamine Therapy for Depression

Dial-A-Doc
Dial-A-Doc provides OHIP covered phone appointments with Ontario doctors for various medical services to those who do not have a family doctor available. Prescriptions will be faxed to your local pharmacy.

Where can I find Personal Protective Equipment

Should you require additional sources of PPE supplies, the Ontario Government has set up an online workplace PPE supplier directory.

For health care providers, information on the regional emergency supply of PPE, ordering swabs, donating PPE, or selecting appropriate PPE can be found here.
 
Ontario Health has provided the following recommendations on PPE use and optimization during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Personal Protective Equipment Use During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Optimizing the Supply of Personal Protective Equipment During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Reprocessing of N95 Respirators

Is blood test screening for antibodies available?

Health Canada has authorized the first COVID-19 serological (blood) test for use in Canada. Under the leadership of Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, Canadian laboratories will use the test to detect antibodies specific to COVID-19. These tests will help us better understand whether people who have been infected by COVID-19 become immune to the virus. Further research will also help to better understand the relationship between positive antibody tests and protection against re-infection. Learn more from Health Canada here.

Tests are now available in Ontario for the following people:
• Children suspected to have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
• Hospitalized patients with suspected COVID at least 3 weeks after symptoms started and who’ve had 2 negative tests.
• People with a neurological illness.
• General public can request a test from their family doctor, but will be responsible for covering the cost of the test.

I am concerned about my mental health, where can I find resources that can help me cope?

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has provided access to mental health and addiction supports for health care workers that may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources are available here.

Resources

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