Good Friday RNAO members,
A reminder of RNAO’s updated daily communications for this second month of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. You are receiving summary updates on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday – inclusive of Ontario’s Ministry of Health’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Situational Report, and World Health Organization (WHO) Situational Report. In addition, you are receiving on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, longer updates such as the one today, inclusive of an RNAO policy corner and more detail.
Brief Update on Repatriated Canadians: Canadians from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who arrived on Feb. 21 from Japan, are in Cornwall and have 6 days left of their quarantine period. To date, there are no COVID-19 positive cases among the repatriated Canadians from Wuhan who were quarantined at CFB Trenton or who are currently in quarantine at the NAV Centre.
MOH EOC Situational Report #34 here. The number of confirmed cases in Canada reported by EOC is 14, with seven persons in Ontario and seven in British Columbia. In Ontario, at this time, there are 22 persons under investigation with lab results pending. There is, in addition, a first presumptive case in Quebec. We had an excellent meeting today with government officials and are eager to see advanced plans for future scenario planning, including how a potential pandemic (that we still hope can be avoided) may present itself in Canada. Further information will be communicated as the process evolves.
Situation Report 39 from WHO updates that worldwide there are 83,652 confirmed cases (1,358 new) and 2,858 deaths (54 new) in 51 countries (5 new). 75% of the new cases are outside China. There are 2,337 confirmed cases in South Korea (571 new); the majority of the cases were contracted in the country. Other countries to note are Italy (with 650 confirmed cases, 250 new), Iran (with 245), Japan (with 210), and Singapore (with 96). The total number of confirmed cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship is 705. Five new countries (Belarus, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Nigeria) reported cases in the past 24 hours.
WHO has increased the assessment of the risk of spread and risk of impact of COVID-19 at the global level. The continued increase in the number of cases, and the number of affected countries over the last few days, are clearly of concern. Epidemiologists have been monitoring these developments continuously, and WHO has now increased their assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at a global level. What we see at the moment are linked epidemics of COVID-19 in several countries, but most cases can still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases. We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities. As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus, if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts. There are different scenarios in different countries, and different scenarios within the same country; however, the key everywhere to containing this virus is to break the chains of transmission.
RNAO policy corner
We are calling on you, your colleagues and your organization to enroll into action to protect our valuable PPE stocks, and make sure they are used appropriately and don’t “take legs.”. We need to provide factual and professional information, as well as maintain calm and solidarity. Please continue to protect yourself and educate others to regular respiratory protection practices - see WHO here. This is prime time to get us and the public into healthy habits so these become the norm.
We need to work for the best scenario and be prepared for the worst. WHO has indicated that we are not yet in a pandemic and hard, focused and resolute work around the world may still be able to avoid one. At the same time, we should be planning for the potentiality of a pandemic. There should be, at every level, detailed plans and preparation for such an eventuality.
RNAO hopes that at this time, every agency and institution has a task force specifically addressing these preparations and that chief nurse executives and chief nurse offcer are involved. EOC has been fantastic in providing guidance, protocols and resources, while, at the same time, providing a flow of reliable, evidence-based information, maintaining calm, and avoiding negative expressions such as panic, stigma and discrimination.
As we envision the real possibility of a pandemic, the continuing safeguard of our supplies is more important than ever, so we have these when and if needed. Please continue to remind colleagues that personal protective equipment (PPE) is 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.
I encourage you to review the excellent online courses related to COVID-19 that have been added to the OpenWHO platform:
A general introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including novel coronaviruses
We are here for you and your teams if you have questions and/or experience challenges of any kind, and especially shortages of PPE. Send these emails directly to me at email@example.com. We also encourage you to 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.
Ontario’s 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.
This has been and will continue to be an evolving public health emergency and we must keep ahead of it.
For our nursing and other health professional colleagues in the frontlines of the outbreak at home and abroad, we are with you. To our BPSOs abroad, know we are with you and we hope our updates support you – feel free to share these with other health professionals.
Warm regards and keep up the fantastic work!
Doris Grinspun, RN,MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, O.ONT
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