The Regional Municipality Of York

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COVID-19 Information for Health Professionals

York Region Public Health continues to provide support for health professionals related to COVID-19 (formerly referred to as novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV).

Alert:
As of February 10, 2020, the Public Health Ontario Laboratory (PHOL) no longer requires physicians to phone PHOL for approval when testing for COVID-19. PHOL will accept samples for COVID19 testing for individuals that meet the criteria for a Person Under Investigation, as per the Ministry’s case definition, or anyone else a clinician feels is at risk of COVID-19. Refer to the section on “testing” below for more information.

Alert:
On February 7, 2020, the Ministry of Health updated its case definition for COVID-19. A fax was sent out to health professionals practicing in York Region about this on February 8th 2020. It is important that health professionals continue to periodically refer to the Ministry webpage aimed at health professionals for ongoing updates or modifications to the case definitions.

Will York Region Public Health be providing hand sanitizers or masks to health care providers in York Region?
Health care providers are responsible for these supplies, Public Health will not be providing hand sanitizer or masks. Washing hands frequently and thoroughly using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an important part of protecting against the spread of emerging diseases, the common cold, flu and other diseases commonly circulating at this time of year.

For Health Professionals


For Primary Care Providers

View the COVID-19 Guidance for Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting for the Ministry of Health’s up-to-date guidance for primary care providers.

COVID-19 is a reportable disease. Contact York Region Public Health immediately if you suspect a case of COVID-19, before you collect specimens. Contact Public Health right away if you:

  • are unsure whether you can safely assess a person who might have COVID-19;
  • need support with referring to a hospital for testing or conducting testing yourself;
  • have questions about case definitions and the need for testing for your patient.

We are available 24/7 for health care providers. Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. call 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73588. After hours (between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. weekdays) and on weekends/holidays call 905-953-6478.

Review the updated case definition from the Ministry. Updates to the case definition are likely to be ongoing given the evolving evidence. We suggest checking this link regularly as the situation and case definition evolves.

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For Acute Care Providers and Hospitals

View the COVID-19 Guidance for Acute Care for the Ministry of Health’s up-to-date guidance for the acute care sector.

Review the updated case definition from the Ministry. Updates to the case definition are likely to be ongoing given the evolving evidence. We suggest checking this link regularly as the situation and case definition evolves.

We are available 24/7 for health care providers. Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. call 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73588. After hours (between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. weekdays) and on weekends/holidays call 905-953-6478.

Once you report a suspect case to York Region Public Health, we will follow up with the client. This means we will do a full interview which includes collecting information about household contacts to assess their need for testing, ensuring home isolation, and providing education for the family on what self-isolation is and what it may look like if/when they are discharged home.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

For Long-Term Care Homes

View the COVID-19 Fact Guidance for Long-Term Care for the Ministry of Health’s up-to-date guidance for the long-term care sector.

COVID-19 is a reportable disease. Contact York Region Public Health immediately if you suspect a case of COVID-19, before you collect any specimens. Contact Public Health right away if you:

  • are unsure whether you can safely assess a person who might have COVID-19;
  • need support with referring to a hospital for testing or conducting testing yourself; or
  • have questions about case definitions and the need for testing for your patient.

We are available 24/7 for health care providers. Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. call 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73588. After hours (between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. weekdays) and on weekends/holidays call 905-953-6478.

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Important Information to Gather from Suspect Cases

Please collect the following information from anyone you believe may meet the COVID-19 case definition for a Person Under Investigation to help with an assessment:

  • Travel details (dates and exact location(s) of travel)
  • Signs, symptoms, onset and your clinical assessment
  • Details for your ill patient of any contact with an individual who has been ill and visited Hubei province or mainland China
  • Full patient demographics (including phone number)
  • What infection prevention and control measures have been put in place
  • Details of who else lives at home with this person, if possible
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Past Communications from York Region Public Health

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Testing for COVID-19

As of February 10, 2020, the Public Health Ontario Laboratory (PHOL) no longer requires physicians to phone PHOL for approval when testing for COVID-19. PHOL will accept samples for COVID-19 testing for individuals that meet the criteria for a Person Under Investigation, as per the Ministry’s case definition. Clinical presentations that do not fit case definition, but are considered by the physician at being at risk of COVID-19 infection, will also be accepted for testing.

Please note, case definitions are subject to change and clinicians should regularly check the Ministry website for up-to-date information.

The PHO COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Test Requisition form must be filled out with the following mandatory information:

  1. Whether the individual meets criteria for a person under investigation (yes/no)
  2. Travel history (country and dates)
  3. Whether the individual was in contact with a confirmed or probable case (yes/no); if no, other sick contacts (yes/no; if yes, describe)
  4. Symptom onset date
  5. Patient symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, pneumonia)
  6. Patient setting (ICU, hospitalized, ED or outpatient)

When collecting specimens please note that two specimens need to be collected: nasopharyngeal swab and throat swab.

For more information on testing and to find the test requisition form, visit the PHOL testing page.


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Recommendations for Isolation

Individuals being tested for COVID-19 are being asked to self-isolate. The information and education they receive from Public Health can be found on the self-isolation factsheet. Clinicians can also provide this to any of their clients that have been tested for COVID-19. Additionally, depending on their risk factors, their household and close contacts may also be asked to self-isolate.

Lastly, travelers that return from Hubei province are now being asked upon their return to stay at home (i.e. not attend work and school) for 14 days after they’ve been in Hubei. For more information around the guidance for returning travelers (that clinicians can help reinforce) visit york.ca/covid19.

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Resources for Patients in Different Languages

For more information on COVID-19 visit: Ministry of Health
*The Ministry of Health FAQ is translated into 19 different languages.

External Resources for Health Professionals

Guidance Documents

Please visit the Ministry of Health for the latest case definition relevant for the health care sector and the latest versions of the Sector Specific guidance documents (for primary care, acute care, long term care, pharmacies, community labs, paramedics, independent health facilities, home and community care).

LHIN 2019-nCoV Positive Screen Algorithm
Ontario Medical Association’s Summary of Primary Care Guidance

For testing information:

Infection prevention and control:


 


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