The Ontario Ministry of Health has announced it will delay the recovery of monies it provided to Ontario physicians via the COVID-19 advance payment program. Recovery payments will now begin in April 2021 (not February 2021). The program, which provided advance payments in the form of a loan to Ontario physicians, was purportedly aimed to help physicians sustain their clinical practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per our 2020 Budget submission, there are two major drawbacks to the program. First, it is a loan. Second, the loan recovery period remains a short six months (i.e. April – September 2021) i.e. a period of time when the province will still be dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For cardiologists providing community-based services to be sustained over the long-term, it is imperative that the COVID-19 Advance Payment Program be converted to a stabilization grant; alternatively, the government must give consideration to changing the terms of the payment recovery period from commencing in April 2021 to the fiscal year 2022-23.
Today, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table issued a COVID-19 Projections Update. Click here to review the document COVID-19 Projections Update (January 12, 2021). We wish to highlight a couple of comments made at today’s media conference:
“When we are talking about the impact of COVID, we are not only talking about COVID. We are talking about mortality in long-term care homes; we are talking about people living with cancer, with heart disease, respiratory illness, neurological illness not being able to access the services they need.” – Matthew Anderson, President & CEO, Ontario Health, January 12, 2021.
“When we start to delay care…heart disease will worsen and patients will die as they are unable to get access to care.” – Adalsteinn Brown, Co-Chair, Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, January 12, 2021.
New Technology is a Gamechanger in Significantly Improving Screening for the Virus
November 24, 2020
TORONTO — The Ontario government has deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas. As an additional tool to help keep essential workers safe, rapid tests will also be used to screen staff in long-term care homes and select workplaces. These new tests will provide Ontarians with more access to innovative testing options and will help to quickly identify and manage outbreaks to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Details were released today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
“These new rapid tests are gamechangers in the fight against COVID-19,” said Premier Ford. “This new technology can provide test results in hours, even minutes, instead of days. We’re deploying them as quickly as possible to protect patients, long-term care residents, and the frontline heroes who care for them. These new tools will ensure that Ontario remains the leader in testing in Canada to help stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
Ontario has received approximately 98,000 ID NOW tests that are initially being used in hospitals and assessment centres in rural and remote communities, as well as to test people as part of early outbreak investigations in hotspot regions where there are high concentrations of COVID-19 cases. Two hospitals are using ID NOW, with 20 additional hospitals preparing to launch rapid testing. Hospitals will be able to test people, such as staff and patients, who are either symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
“Our government strongly advocated for the approval of these rapid tests to help provide timely access to testing for Ontarians who need it the most,” said Minister Elliott. “These tests are helping to improve access to testing in our most underserved communities and allow us to better detect and contain any outbreaks. We are continuously working to expand our testing capacity and evaluate new and emerging technologies to provide safe testing options for a greater number of people.”
ID NOW tests continue to be distributed in Simcoe Muskoka, Southwestern Ontario and Eastern Ontario, and the program will be expanded to other areas of the province beginning in December. Continued rollout of this test is planned for in Toronto and Peel and work is underway with Ontario Health and local public health units to support rapid testing deployment across the province. Ontario also continues to work closely with Toronto Public Health and Peel Regional Health Unit to bring rapid testing into the regions’ outbreak response, using rapid testing to help with early identification and investigation of outbreaks.
The province has also received 1.2 million Panbio rapid antigen tests that will support a screening program for long-term care homes and other workplaces. To date, Panbio tests have been deployed to six long-term care operators for potential deployment in over 30 long-term care homes, 27 retirement homes, eight hospitals, and 11 industry partners such as Ontario Power Generation, Air Canada and Magna, with plans to expand further across province. Ontario is expecting to receive up to 1.5 million more Panbio tests by the end of December.
Over the next number of weeks, select long-term care homes will use the Abbott Panbio rapid antigen tests to help inform future deployment across the sector.
“Since day one of COVID-19, our top priority has been to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians, including long-term care residents,” said Minister Fullerton. “These rapid tests can help long-term care homes get results immediately allowing them to act faster to prevent COVID-19 from entering the home.”
Panbio tests will also be used in a broader eight-week pilot for participating employers in the private, public and non-profit sectors, prioritizing access for health care settings, essential frontline settings, and congregate settings. This pilot program is an important opportunity to learn about the value of antigen screening for asymptomatic workers in a range of workplace settings and will inform future decisions about safely and fully re-opening the economy. Participating employers would cover associated costs of delivering antigen rapid tests including human resource expenses and ensure testing follows guidelines as set by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The province continues to ensure that anyone who needs a test can get a test and receive their results as quickly as possible. Anyone who falls within the current Provincial Testing Guidance should continue to seek publicly funded testing, available at participating pharmacies and assessment centres. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested at an assessment centre.
As both ID NOW and Panbio tests are new, they will be carefully evaluated and used in alignment with guidance from Health Canada.
- The ID NOW test uses molecular testing with a nasal, nasopharyngeal or throat swab. Molecular testing detects genetic material of COVID-19 to diagnose people with symptoms.
- The Panbio test uses antigen testing with a nasopharyngeal swab only. Antigen testing detects specific proteins from the virus to screen and identify people who need further testing.
- Rapid tests must be performed at a laboratory or specimen collection centre licensed under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act (LSCCLA) or by certain regulated health professionals that are specifically exempt from the licensing requirements of the LSCCLA. Ontario has also released guidance for individuals or organizations that choose to participate in COVID-19 testing that falls outside of the public health care system, to ensure there is appropriate oversight and consumer protection and that public resources are supporting public health initiatives.
- The launch of rapid testing is part of the province’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, to enhance and expand efforts to quickly test and identify new cases of COVID-19.
- Ontario has completed over 5.8 million tests to date, more tests than all Canadian provinces and territories combined.
- Testing is available by appointment for those within provincial testing guidance at assessment centres, participating pharmacies and specimen collection centres. Please visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find a testing location and for eligibility criteria to be tested.
- It is still critically important for all Ontarians to follow public health measures to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19—wear a mask when required, stay two metres apart from people outside of your household, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are not feeling well, and download the COVID Alert mobile app.
In a written submission to the Ontario Minister of Finance, the Ontario Association of Cardiologists (OAC) today called on the Ontario government to protect the health and well-being of cardiac patients and all Ontarians in the upcoming Fall 2020 Budget by:
- Maintaining OHIP virtual care fee codes indefinitely.
- Converting the COVID-19 Advance Payment Program to a Grant or Extending the Program’s Payment Recovery Period to March 2023.
- Providing funding for the purchase and use of rapid point of care COVID testing in community cardiology offices and clinics.
- Investing in community-based congestive heart failure patient care.
To read the submission , click here: OAC Fall 2020 Budget Submission (October 16, 2020).
To learn more about these and other important issues, please contact us at:
Ontario Association of Cardiologists
34 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 410
Toronto, Ontario M4R 2H6
Additional Health Capacity Critical to Responding to Future Surges and Outbreaks
September 25, 2020
Office of the Premier
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“The last thing patients and families should have to worry about right now is the cancellation of their surgery or procedure due to the second wave of COVID-19,” said Premier Ford. “We are moving mountains to make sure all patients get the top-notch care they deserve, while clearing the backlog of surgeries. At the same time, we are preparing for any future surge or outbreak in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.”
“Expanding access to care to help reduce health service backlogs is part of our plan to ensure that we are ready for future waves of COVID-19,” said Minister Elliott. “This investment is essential to help more patients waiting for surgeries and other procedures get the care they need faster and help reduce the burden on our system.To ensure that the health system is prepared to respond to any surges of COVID-19 without interrupting routine health services, we are also increasing capacity inhome and community care and expanding digital and virtual health care services.”
Accelerate Efforts to Reduce Health Service Backlogs
To support the health care system as it works to reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario has already taken the following actions:
- Released A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining their ability to respond to COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season; and
- Invested in virtual care providing alternatives to in-person care that limit the transmission of COVID-19, while maintaining access to care.
Ontario is making the necessary investments to expand access to services and surgical and procedural backlogs by:
- Investing up to $283.7 million to support additional priority surgeries including cancer, cardiac, cataract, and orthopaedic procedures;
- Extending diagnostic imaging hours at health care facilities forMRIs, CT scans, and other critical procedures;
- Adding an additional 139 critical care beds and 1,349 additional hospital beds in hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province to support more surgical procedures; and
- Working to initiate a centralized waitlist and a program to optimize the use of the operating roomsto improve the use of existing resources and increase the number of surgical procedures in hospitals by hundreds on average per year, and improve patient flow by leveraging available surgical capacity in each region.
Prepare for Surges in COVID-19 Cases
Ontario is also preparing to respond to any potential surges of COVID-19 without interrupting the delivery of routine health care services. For this reason, the government is investing $457.5 million to increase community capacity, including home and community care, to help reduce pressure on the health care system and expand the delivery of care.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has already taken necessary action to provide easier and faster access to care:
- Enhanced access to virtual care so more patients can see their doctor by phone or video through the creation of temporary fee schedule codes;
- Provided over 240,000 virtual visits for nursing and rehab home care services since the COVID-19 outbreak began;
- Invested $26.75 million to address further demand for mental health and addictions services by enhancing community-based services for vulnerable populations, expanding virtual mental health and addictions services, and supporting Indigenous communities to meet the growing needs in their communities in a culturally safe way;
- Secured sufficient critical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) to support current projected demands by purchasing PPE, and maintaining a provincial pandemic stockpile, and pursued Ontario-made solutions to build domestic manufacturing capacity across the province; and
- Announced five new Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) that will support better coordinated care, with 17 more in approval. This is in addition to the existing 24 OHTs already delivering care across the province.
Ontario will continue to protect the health and wellbeing of all Ontarians and ensure they can access the routine health services they need by:
- Expanding access to virtual emergency department services and giving patients the option of virtual pre- and post-surgery appointments, to support surgical care transitions when appropriate to do so;
- Helping up to 850 alternate levels of care patients access the right level of care in a home or community setting to help add more capacity in hospitals; and
- Increasing home and community care service volumes by investing $100 million to add an additional 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.
The province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, is based on six pillars, which will:
- Maintain strong public health measures, including continued expansion of testing and case and contact management;
- Quickly identify, manage and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks;
- Accelerate efforts to reduce health service backlogs;
- Prepare for surges in COVID-19 cases;
- Recruit, retain, train and support health care workers, while also continuing to engage families and caregivers; and
- Implement the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history.
- In 2020-21, the Ministry of Health will invest an additional $594 million in the hospital sector to accelerate progress on the government’s commitment to end hallway health care.
- Ontario Health will be releasing guidelines for proposals to support virtual care models and eligible hospitals will be selected based on their capacity and readiness.
- Patients requiring non-emergency care can access physician care through telephone and video services. Patients can contact their physician for details or Telehealth Ontario if they do not have a family doctor.
- For added protection, download the COVID Alert app from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
- Ontario Set to Launch Largest Flu Immunization Campaign in Province’s History
- Ontario Expands COVID-19 Testing to Pharmacies
- Ontario Investing More Than $1 Billion to Expand COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing
- Ontario Releases Plan to Resume Scheduled Surgeries and Procedures
- Ontario Expanding Digital and Virtual Health Care
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
- For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only).
CorHealth Ontario Issues Recommendations for Triaging Hospital-Based Cardiac CT, MRI, and Nuclear Imaging Services During COVID-19
This week CorHealth Ontario issued COVID-19 Cardiac Memo #15 containing recommendations for triaging hospital-based cardiac CT, MRI, and nuclear imaging services during COVID-19.
To view the recommendations, click here: CorHealth-COVID-19-Cardiac-Memo_15-Triaging-Cardiac-Imaging-Services-During-COVID-19
For more information, please contact the OAC office at:
34 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 410
Toronto, Ontario M4R 2H6
OAC Supports Ontario Health Minister’s Comments re: Maintaining Patient Access to Hospital-Based Procedures During Second COVID Wave
The Ontario Association of Cardiologists is encouraged by comments made by Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott earlier this week in Question Period. In response to a question from NDP Health Care Critic France Gelinas, Minister Elliott acknowledged the importance of maintaining patient access to hospital-based surgeries and procedures, including cardiac, during the second COVID wave.
Hon. Christine Elliott: As I indicated earlier in a previous question, the response to wave 2 is going to be more difficult and challenging than the response to wave 1 for the very reasons that you’ve outlined. We have thousands of surgeries and procedures that were postponed during wave 1 to create that capacity in our hospital system. We don’t want people to have to wait any longer for those surgeries. We know that they need them, whether they’re orthopedic surgeries, cancer surgeries, cataract surgeries or cardiac surgeries—whatever else that they need. We want that to continue. We know we need to create extra capacity in our hospital system.
source: LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO, Tuesday 15 September 2020
The Ministry of Health has issued OHIP InfoBulletin #4766 outlining the medical claims adjustments and claims submissions processes relating to the Kaplan Board of Arbitration’s Year-4 Award increases for non-hospital technical fees effective April 1, 2020.
To read the InfoBulletin, click here: Kaplan Board of Arbitration Award Year 4-Technical Fees Increase Medical Claims Adjustment (MADJ)
For more information, please contact the OAC office at:
34 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 410
Toronto, Ontario M4R 2H6
On March 19, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health released Directive #2 for health care providers in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Directive required that all non-essential and elective services be ceased or reduced to minimal levels until further notice.
On May 26, 2020, Directive #2 was amended to “support the gradual restart of all non-essential and elective services provided by Health Care Providers,” thus giving clearance to resume full services within current public safety requirements, given the ongoing pandemic and continuing risk to patients and health care providers.
Providers of echocardiographic services are now faced with the dual challenges of modifying service provision in a manner that ensures compliance with public health requirements, while engaging the accumulated backlog of deferred examinations.
The following document has been developed with the intention of providing recommendations to guide the resumption of activity within this environment and rational engagement of deferred examinations.
For more information, contact the OAC office:
34 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 410
Toronto, Ontario M4R 2H6
Ontario Moving More Regions into Stage 2 on Friday
TORONTO — More people will be able to get back to work as additional businesses and services in certain regions across Ontario can begin reopening this Friday. The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health, is enabling more regions of the province to enter Stage 2 of the government’s reopening framework. These regions are able to reopen due to positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level, including lower transmission of COVID-19, sufficient hospital health system capacity, local public health capacity to assist with rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing provincially.
The details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Tourism, Culture, and Sport Industries.
Informed by public health advice and workplace safety guidance, and supported by the collective efforts of businesses, workers and families to limit the potential spread of the virus, the latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:
- Durham Region Health Department;
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
- Halton Region Health Department;
- Hamilton Public Health Services;
- Lambton Health Unit;
- Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
- York Region Public Health Services.
These regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020. Before opening, business owners need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health advice.
“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers and the people in these regions to stop the spread of COVID-19, more businesses will be able to open their doors and thousands of people will be able to go back to work and put food on the table,” said Premier Ford. “With the public health trends improving day by day across the province, I am hopeful all regions of Ontario will enter Stage 2 very soon. But we must remain on our guard to prevent any potential surge or secondary wave by continuing to follow the sound advice of our public health officials.”
The following regions will remain in Stage 1 under ongoing assessment until trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 2:
- Peel Public Health;
- Toronto Public Health; and
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
“Opening more regions of Ontario is another positive sign that we are making steady progress in our collective efforts to contain this deadly virus,” said Minister Elliott. “As many more Ontarians begin to work, shop and interact with others, it’s never been more important that we continue to follow public health advice, especially physical distancing with anyone outside of our social circle, so we can soon successfully and safely move into Stage 3.”
Public health remains the government’s top priority. All Ontarians must continue to follow public health advice, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you think you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID‑19, get tested.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.
- At the beginning of each week, the government is providing an update on the ongoing assessment of Ontario’s regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.
- To get tested, people should visit Ontario’s website to find their local assessment centre and whether they need to call ahead to make an appointment.
The province has developed a practical step-by-step guide to help Ontarians as they safely develop and join a social circle.
Ontario Health Recommendations for Regional Health Care Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Outpatient Care, Primary Care, and Home and Community Care
Ontario Health has released Recommendations for Regional Health Care Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Outpatient Care, Primary Care, and Home and Community Care to assist health care organizations and providers in home and community care, primary care, and outpatient care initiate planning for a gradual return to their full scope of services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To access the document, click here: Recommendations for Regional Health Care Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Outpatient Care Primary Care and Home and Com
For more information, contact the OAC office.
Ontario Association of Cardiologists
34 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 410
Toronto, Ontario M4R 2H6
Restrictions Being Eased in Communities Where It Is Safe to Do So
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government announced that it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.
Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. include:
- Algoma Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Public Health
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Grey Bruce Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
- Northwestern Health Unit
- Ottawa Public Health
- Peterborough Public Health
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Southwestern Public Health
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
Details of the Stage 2 reopening were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Premier Ford. “Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:
- Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
- Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- Camping at private campgrounds;
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
- Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on:
- Child care;
- Summer camps;
- Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
- Training centres; and
- Public transit.
“The health and long-term economic well-being of the people of Ontario has guided every decision we have made in response to COVID-19,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. “The people and employers of Ontario have demonstrated responsible behaviour throughout the global pandemic. I’m confident that will continue in Stage 2 and beyond. Our collective health and the economic recovery of the province depend on it.”
At the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.
Everyone, regardless of where they live in the province, must continue to follow public health advice, including to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.
“As a result of efforts of all Ontarians to stop the spread of COVID-19, many regions have met the criteria to move into the next stage of our reopening plan, including a decrease in new daily cases and sufficient hospital capacity in the event of any spikes in cases or outbreaks,” said Minister Elliott. “Our regional approach recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses. We will continue to monitor any shifts in the spread and take decisive action to contain any outbreaks.”
The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released more than 100 health and safety guidance documents at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including retail, restaurant and food services and child care ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review these guidance documents and implement appropriate measures to help protect their workers and customers.
“Ontario employers have the information and the tools they need to keep workers safe,” said Minister McNaughton. “That includes safety guidelines, posters and tip sheets to promote safe workplaces and help stop the spread of COVID-19. I strongly advise everyone to visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to read, download, print and post them, for your sake and the sake of those around you.”
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, our government has worked together with Ontario’s business community to mobilize our manufacturing and innovation might to develop made-in-Ontario solutions,” said Minister Fedeli. “As we proceed into Phase 2 of the reopening process, we will continue to support both businesses and workers as we move forward on the path to economic recovery together.”
- For questions about what is currently able to open during Stage 1, or what will be open or impacts to your business or employment when we enter Stage 2, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
- The Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee wants to hear directly from people and organizations from all regions and sectors to help inform the next steps in Ontario’s Action Plan in response to COVID-19. You can provide your input here.
- Visit Ontario.ca/reopen to learn how you can provide your feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on personal finances, business supports and government relief measures.
- On April 1, 2020, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations.
- The government has launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The directory can be accessed here.
Face coverings now recommended when physical distancing is a challenge
TORONTO — As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19. To assist the public, the Ministry of Health today released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies.
The details were released today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.
“Now that we are in Stage 1 of our Framework for Reopening the Province, more people will be returning to workplaces, going to stores and parks, and using public transit,” said Premier Ford. “I strongly urge everyone to continue following the public health advice, such as physical distancing and restricting gatherings to five people or less. Although we are making progress, COVID-19 is still a risk that we must guard against. Please stay safe and protect yourself and others.”
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has advised people to wash their hands often, stay at home if feeling ill, and practise physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone outside their household. Now that the province is reopening, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts are recommending that individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy. In order to assist people and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health released the following face covering recommendations:
- Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
- Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
- Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.
“If you need a face covering, it is critically important people wear one that is appropriate for the situation,” said Minister Elliott. “Those taking transit or going out who can’t physically distance should wear non-medical grade cloth masks. We need to reserve all of the medical masks to protect our frontline health care workers, first responders and people who are ill.”
Workers and employers may also consider using face coverings as an additional public health measure in addition to mandatory occupational health and safety measures.
To assist provincial transit agencies in protecting transit staff and riders in this new environment, the Ministry of Health is also recommending the following measures be put in place:
- Physical distancing of at least two metres by admitting fewer passengers and using physical markers between seats;
- The use of face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not feasible;
- Ensuring the availability of alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and exiting the vehicle;
- Implementing engineering controls like plexiglass windows between drivers and passengers; and
- Enhanced cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces.
“Ontario’s public transit systems are critical to supporting the economy and getting people where they need to go as the province begins to reopen,” said Minister Mulroney. “The health and well-being of all transit workers and passengers is a top priority for our government and we will be working with transit agencies to ensure that public transit can continue to operate safely.”
All Canadians continue to be legally required to self-isolate for 14 days when returning home from international travel.
In the meantime, Ontario and public health experts will carefully monitor the key public health indicators outlined in A Framework to Reopening our Province at each stage of reopening and will adjust public health measures if necessary.
Safe Reintroduction of Cardiovascular Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance from North American Societies
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology has published an article entitled, “Safe Reintroduction of Cardiovascular Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance from North American Societies”. The Societies represented include:
– American College of Cardiology
– American Heart Association
– Canadian Cardiovascular Society
– Canadian Association of Interventional Cardiology
– Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
– Heart Valve Society
– American Society of Echocardiography
– Society of Thoracic Surgeons
– Heart Rhythm Society
– Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography
– American Society of Nuclear Cardiology
– Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
– Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
– Society of Nuclear Medicine
– Canadian Heart Failure Society
– Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons
To review the document, click here: https://www.onlinecjc.ca/article/S0828-282X(20)30428-1/fulltext
Canadian Cardiovascular Society: Don’t Ignore Heart Symptoms, Especially if You Have a Heart Condition
The Ontario Association of Cardiologists joins with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society in reminding the public, do not ignore heart symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian Cardiovascular Society: Tips, pitfalls and red flags for family physicians caring for patients with cardiovascular disease during the COVID-19 pandemic
On April 15, 2020, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society released the following guidance statement:
To access the guidance document, click here: http://www.ccs.ca/images/Images_2020/Tips_Pitfalls__Red_Flags_FINAL.pdf
Ontario Association of Cardiologists
34 Eglinton Ave West, Suite 410
Tel: 416-487-0054 / 1-877-504-1239