WPSHC COVID-19 Update #22
Information about COVID-19 related activities at West Parry Sound Health Centre can be found in this edition of WPSHC COVID-19 Update.
Click on the link below.
WPSHC asks public to avoid unnecessary risks
Risk avoidance is a social responsibility that must be increased during our community’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That message is being strongly shared by West Parry Sound Health Centre and other emergency service providers.
“Under the current precautions imposed by federal and provincial authorities, standing together in public less than six feet apart, gathering with people not normally part of your household, or even leaving your own home for local travel, should all be viewed as risk-taking behaviour,” said West Parry Sound Health Centre Chief of Staff Dr. Terence Fargher.
“People must be made to understand the additional, and potentially extreme, risks that are now associated with boating, cottaging, camping, or traveling any further than your local grocery store.”
All of the community safety systems that we usually rely on are equally exposed to the dangers of COVID-19: leaving them vulnerable to potential depletion of staff resources, constrained access to personal protective equipment (PPE), competing demands, and the requirement for expanded public safety priorities.
“What we normally assume to be an enjoyable recreational experience could become deadly, and accessing the services of local emergency responders will deplete scarce resources that are already in very short supply.”
We are encouraging everyone in our community:
• Do not travel any distance outside of your local pharmacy, grocery store, or health care service provider. In particular, please avoid outdoor risks like boating, camping, cottaging, and other high-risk behaviours. A reminder that all outdoor fires are banned everywhere in Ontario.
• Everyone out in public in locations where social distancing cannot be maintained should be wearing a nonmedical mask or material (bandanna, scarf) that covers your nose and mouth.
• If you have been provided with a mask by your employer, or received a community made mask, please ensure that you are wearing it properly, covering your nose and mouth.
• Practice all appropriate precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, including frequent hand washing (use of hand sanitizer) with soap and water, maintain physical distancing, and do not gather with people not normally part of your household.
“We have a large population of vulnerable people in West Parry Sound, especially the elderly, who can be exposed to COVID-19 with serious or even fatal consequences,” said WPSHC CEO Donald Sanderson. “We must all share in taking action to protect each other.”
Limiting patient personal items and drop-off
Health Centre limiting items that can be dropped off for patients.
In addition to the ‘no visitor’ policy now in place, we are strictly limiting the items that can be dropped off for a patient.
Patient items are limited to: communication devices, hard surface items that can be wiped clean, such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, and charging devices.
Medications from home can be dropped off if they have been requested by the patient’s care team.
If clothing is required for discharge, the person picking up the patient is asked to bring the clothing with them at time of discharge.
Items can only be dropped off inside the health centre’s main entrance, weekdays only, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Anyone dropping off items at WPSHC must be symptom-free and successfully pass screening questions.
Health centre staff are actively working with patients and families to support communication and virtual visits using technology and communication devices.
WPSHC is thankful for the support and cooperation we are receiving from patients, families, and the communities we are privileged to serve.
Appointment required for Assessment Centre
West Parry Sound Health Centre, supported by members of the local medical community, is now operating a COVID-19 Assessment Centre located in the Parry Sound Mall. Appointments are necessary and access is only from the rear of the building.
The clinic’s purpose is to assess and, only where appropriate, test people who may be infected with COVID-19. Operation of the clinic will also reduce the number of patients visiting the Emergency Department at WPSHC.
Patient visits at the Assessment Centre are by appointment only. For safety reasons, ‘walk-in’ appointments are strictly prohibited. Not everyone who calls or attends the clinic will be tested.
Individuals meeting the criteria below may call the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 705-746-4540 extension 5030 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days per week.
When calling, the patient must give basic information and will be assessed based on the COVID-19 Assessment Centre’s guidelines established by Ontario Health.
Individuals with general questions should not call the Assessment Centre. Please contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, or the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, 1-800-563-2808, or visit online at www.myhealthunit.ca
Not all patients attending the Assessment Centre will be tested, such as patients who meet the criteria and have mild illness.
West Parry Sound Health Centre’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is funded and approved by the Ministry of Health and is a result of proactive and collaborative planning with our partners at North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit and Ontario Health North.
Critical Care Capacity and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Statement from the Ontario Hospital Association re: Critical Care Capacity and the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the days ahead, Ontario faces a turning point in the war against COVID-19, a deadly virus that has overwhelmed hospitals and critical care capacity in countries across the globe. Thanks to the Government of Ontario, planning and mobilization is underway across our health care system.
Additional critical care capacity is being brought on-line. However, if we as a province cannot moderate the rate of growth of new COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization, Ontario’s critical care services face potentially overwhelming odds.
It is the duty of everyone in Ontario to take action - today - to protect the finite critical care capacity needed to sustain the lives of patients needing hospitalization because of COVID-19. These patients won’t be strangers. They will be our parents, grandparents and other family members, our neighbours, and our friends.
In the face of a declared public emergency, with tens of thousands of people now arriving home after March Break, every resident of Ontario must listen to the advice of public health experts. With social distancing, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Avoid public spaces.
Avoid physical interaction with others.
If we all follow these simple rules we can, and we will, save the lives of our elderly, people with serious chronic conditions and people who are immune compromised.
With so much information available it is important that people use authoritative sources to inform themselves. You can read more here on COVID-19, and here you can read about the difference between self-monitoring, self-isolation and isolation and how you can act now to protect the lives of yourself and others.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest public health threat in Ontario’s history.
The decisions all of us make today to prevent its spread and protect the most vulnerable will be the legacy we leave to future generations. Please listen to what the hospitals of Ontario have to say.
It is up to the many to protect the lives of the few.
- Anthony Dale, President & CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
Visitor restrictions, services changes, and more
Safety for patients, staff, and physicians continues to be the number one priority at West Parry Sound Health Centre as the organization continues to make changes in its operational response to COVID-19.
“We want to thank the patients and families and everyone in the communities we are privileged to serve for their support and cooperation during this time when special restrictions and limitations are necessary,” said WPSHC CEO Donald Sanderson.
“I am very proud of the work being done by our staff and physicians. This is an exceptional time for our health care system and every department in our organization is focused on safety and our delivery of the best care possible.”
The following changes are being put in place immediately:
If you have an appointment for ANY service or program at WPSHC, including specialist offices
• All hospitals in Ontario have been told by the Ministry of Health to limit non-emergency surgeries and all other non-emergency clinical activities.
• At WPSHC, important care decisions will be based on individual care plans in consultation with medical and clinical care teams.
• Anyone in the community who has an appointment scheduled for any procedure, program, or service will be contacted by someone from the health centre or a clinical office in advance of their scheduled appointment. If contact has not been made, patients should call their existing contact for more information about their scheduled procedure, program, or service.
Visitor limitations protect our patients and they protect WPSHC’s ability to serve the ongoing health care needs of the communities we are privileged to serve. We are thankful for everyone’s support and cooperation.
Protecting patients, staff, and physicians with additional visitor limitations
No visitors are being allowed for all in-patient units, out-patient clinics, Emergency Department, and Intensive Care Unit. Unusual circumstances (such as end-of-life compassionate care, or the need for a designated support person) are being allowed only as approved by infection control and medical/clinical leadership.
Patients on Obstetrical Care and Palliative Care are being allowed one visitor at a time.
All other authorized visits are also being absolutely restricted to one visitor in the health centre at a time.
All visitors must be symptom-free and successfully pass through active screening on each and every entry to the health centre.
Our visitor controls are being reviewed daily, and additional limitations may become necessary based on decisions by medical and clinical leadership.
Safety continues to be our guiding principle and we recognize that exceptional controls and restrictions have placed difficult demands on the patients and families we are privileged to serve.
• All volunteer activities inside the health centre have been discontinued.
• Active screening continues with authorized visitor access restricted to the third floor entry. Everyone entering the health centre is being screened.
• Visitor restrictions continue to be in place at the community’s long term care facilities. Compassionate exceptions are in place. Anyone should call ahead before visiting Belvedere Heights or Lakeland LTC.
• Patient/visitor screening is being conducted at all WPSHC Nurse Practitioner Led Clinics (Moose Deer Point, Rosseau, Whitestone, Pointe au Baril, Britt, Argyle). Please call ahead if you have a previously scheduled appointment for any care, program, or service.
ONE Initiative Newsletter
Patient care is improving. The way we work continues to change.
Thank you to everyone who is using our new electronic health information system and delivering improved Patient and Family Centred Care at West Parry Sound Health Centre and with our partner hospitals.
Thank you generous donors for supporting our delivery of Patient and Family Centred Care.
Read our March edition of the ONE project newsletter.