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Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario      

 

Here we are at week four of COVID-19 outbreak.

Canadians who arrived on Friday, Feb 7th on the two flights from Wuhan have 3 days left out of their 14 days of quarantine at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton. Those who arrived Feb 11th on the third flight from Wuhan, have 7 days left of their 14 day quarantine at CFB in Trenton. So far all continues well with everyone. It is important to stress that none have tested positive.     

As I informed yesterday, the Federal Government announced on Saturday that it has chartered a plane to repatriate Canadians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, given the extraordinary circumstances faced by passengers and to lighten the burden on the Japanese healthcare system. The aircraft will bring passengers from Japan to CFB Trenton, after which they will be assessed and transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ontario, to undergo a further 14-day period of quarantine. Before boarding in Japan, passengers will be screened for symptoms. Those who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to board and will instead be transferred to the Japanese health system to receive appropriate care. The departure date will be confirmed once final arrangements with the Government of Japan and Princess Cruises are in place. The flight is currently expected to depart Tokyo Haneda Airport on Thursday. Those who remain in Japan will continue to receive full consular services from the Government of Canada.

Attached here is situational report #24 from the Ministry of Health’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), received this afternoon. The number of confirmed cases reported this morning in the federal government’s website is eight, with three persons in Ontario and five in British Columbia. All except one (a patient in London, Ontario, who is resolved with two negative tests), are recovering at home in self-isolation. In Ontario, at this time, there is no person under investigation. RNAO wants to stress the need not to let your guard down, and continue to protect yourself and educate others to regular respiratory protection practices - see WHO guidelines here. Ontario’s EOC shared with us today several posters aimed at the public in English here, French here, and Chinese here. The silver lining of COVID-19 is that, with these measures, we can protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 and also reduce the risk of flu and common cold transmissions.

Thanks you for safeguarding our supplies as we must make sure we have them should we need them. Please continue to remind colleagues that personal protective equipment (PPE) are to be used only when there is a need, as per the EOC guidelines. Health care providers facing immediate supply needs regarding PPE can email the ministry at EOCLogistics.MOH@ontario.ca.

A reminder to all to be up-to-date on EOC information: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx.

Situation Report 29 from the WHO updates that worldwide, there are 73,332 confirmed (1901 new) cases of COVID-19 and 1873 deaths (98 new), mainly in China. No new countries reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. Since yesterday, WHO changed the way it informs of confirmed cases, including both laboratory-confirmed as previously reported, and those reported as clinically diagnosed (currently only applicable to Hubei province, China). The change in reporting is now shown in the figures. This accounts for the apparent large increase in cases compared to the situation report from two days ago.

Health care workers are on the front line of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO has developed guidance on the Rights, Roles and Responsibilities Of Health Workers, Including Key Considerations For Occupational Safety And Health.

WHO has developed an online course to provide general introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including novel coronaviruses.

Based on the evidence currently available about COVID-19, WHO has developed guidance documents for managing public health events at points of entry and mass gatherings. These are posted on the WHO COVID-19 Points of Entry and Mass Gatherings website.

We received one question today and we appreciated it as it allows us to continue providing facts. The question related to “four people from Trenton who have shown positive and have been transferred off base to 3 different hospitals. Are facts not being shared truthfully?????.” Let me be clear, that there has been and continues to be full transparency of information. Nothing is being hidden, and although we respect very much people’s anxieties with COVID-19, it is vital we stay focused on the facts. No one has tested positive. Any transfers to hospitals have to do with conditions people have and not testing positive to the virus. Providing facts and not spinning rumours is vital always, and also now.

Thanks also for the ongoing warm emails of appreciation for these daily updates. Please feel free to share these widely with your health professional’s colleagues. Know that we are honoured to help provide factual and accessible information. We are here to hear from you and your teams should you be experiencing any challenges – please send your emails directly to me at dgrinspun@rnao.ca. You can also access the health provider hotline and website regarding questions about the outbreak, protocols, preparedness, and more. The toll free number is 1-866-212-2272, and the health provider website, updated regularly with useful resources, can be accessed here. An important reminder that the health provider website and the toll free number are for you – as a health professional – and not for members of the general public.

The ministry’s public website on the COVID-19 exists to inform the general public – encourage your family and friends to access this public website. We also have information for the public on our website at www.rnao.ca which we update daily. The WHO has provided an excellent link for you to share with members of the public here.

THANKS to all health professionals in Ontario – especially the ones working at CFB Trenton and to those being deployed to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, to those working in the cruise ships, and the over 13 million healthcare workers in China who are dedicating their expertise to their people!

Doris Grinspun, RN,MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, O.ONT
Chief Executive Officer, RNAO

 

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