Covid19 update

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Covid19 Update June 6, 2020

   Well,  it seems the lockdown is now extended till June 30th,2020.  Being on the 5th floor of a large medical center without a direct outside door makes things difficult.  My associate and assistants  are working to make the best of things.  We are able to receive some limited protective equiptment, but currently will not have what is required should the lockdown be lifted and things start to soften up.  We ask that if you have infectious symptoms, get testing done. (see info below)

We are employing medical guidelines in the office to see our pediatric and pregnant population as well as some non infectious but urgent cases.  Social distancing measures are strict in our office, but we have no control over the common spaces in our medical building.  We advise all visitors to wear a mask for everyones safety.  We are working virtually for the most part, and returning most messages in a timely fashion.   We are unable to address routine visits,  paperwork, and non urgent matters until after the lockdown.  

   Waiting room chairs have been removed.  Protective shields installed and we do not allow any visitors apart from the patient and primary caregiver or parent. If you should need to be assessed, we ask that you come on time, wait in the car if you are early.  Our assistant will contact you the day of your appointment and perform a covid screen.  If you are very late, your appt will be rebooked to a time where you can be accomodated safely, and to maintain the safety of those that are being assessed.   We require time between appointments to prepare and clean room, personnel, equiptment and regown if necessary.  This is for the safety of everyone including your physician who hates to admit that he is in the highest risk group to suffer covid side effects. Please do not bring any food, loose items or papers into the office.  Visits are time sensitive, and we will not be able to address long lists of complaints without pre arranging  and screening for appropriate allotment time, as was the case in the past.   Please do not ask our physicians to render advice on behalf of other specialists in your circle of care.  It is best to speak directly with their offices.

   We have been successful at keeping medications prescribed by our physicians flowing.   PLEASE CONTACT THE PRESCRIBING PHYSICIAN IF A MEDICATION WAS NOT PRESCRIBED OR IS BEING SUPERVISED BY YOUR SPECIALIST.  This is important to maintain your treatment goals going.   There are shortages and most pharmacies are dispensing a thirty day supply.  We have a large vulnerable elderly population in our community of care that is a priority at this time.

   We are developing new ways and thinking outside the box on how to best get caught up with the backlog of routine care covid has produced.  If your child needs immunizations. please call us soon.   We are innovating new ideas on how to monitor ongoing health problems.  Home blood pressure machines,  electronic thermometers, scales and even oximeters that measure oxygenation and your pulse are available to the public.  Please consider getting one  for a loved one soon.  This is invaluable for handling phone calls.   Please unblock you home number on appointment days or if you are expecting a call back. This has been a problem ongoing.     This is an excellent time to reach out to your family and elderly shut-ins with a quick call to let them know you are thinking of them.

   It has been a long journey so far, but do not allow fear to predominate your thinking.    It will make other health issues worse. There are many resources available on the internet, see below. We will continue to be here for you!

 


COVID19 update

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Covid19 Update May 25, 2020

    Lockdown continues.  There is no word of getting protective equiptmen, nor of any guidelines of how to re-open a large medical center. We remain hopeful.  More concerning is that a second lockdown will mean that regular appointments  and follow ups will have to be post poned.   It is like sending a well trained army into action, but some general forgot to order bullets.  Whats more the manuals have existed for years, and still seem to have dust on their covers. 

   Some of the most gifted researchers that I have met, have a unique ability.  They rarely are swayed by pre-conceived ideas and unproven notions.  They pick a likely explanantion and start there.  What makes them different is that have a skill to collect observations and more importantly, data vital to their explanation. They refine, and  separate fact from fiction and incorporate this knowledge into their initial assumption.  They are not afraid to refine their predictions based on better facts and data.  We need this to happen on a national if not global scale, to move forward in a positive direction.

    A  "lock down" in the midst of widespread infection has never been substantiated in science.  The outcome should not be measured in how many tests are done???.    So far, the situation has uncovered pre-existing problems in some long term care environments.  Like most viruses,  things spread quickly in confined indoor spaces.  Sadly, many elderly could not cope with aging health conditions and covid.  In other years,  it would be influenza and very few would even notice the mini catastrophies. We have been waiting for a theoretical wave, which has not arrived, nor may it ever arrive.  

    In our area, many people are bewildered by how a lockdown is defined when there seems to be hundreds of thousands of people moving around.   The coronavirus is now part of our environment along with hundreds of other bacteria, viruses and fungi.   No one ever stated, that any of these actions will stop or cure coronavirus.  There have been numerous inferences that somehow we are going to cure this common but more serious cold.   The data for those under 60 certainly now supports that severity of symptoms or death or a rarity, even more so than perhaps influenza.  That group seems to have a better chance of winning a lottery, than suffering severe covid effects.  Media reports continue to sensationalize the rare and should be interpreted in a proper perspective.  The rare results are probably related to unusual pre-existing factors.  To sensationalize that it represents the norm is not helpful.  To assume that you will not encounter the virus when "lockdown" is lifted, is over reaching.  I continue to monitor the results in Sweden and other countries where slightly different approaches were taken, without economic catastrophe and seem to be faring as well as anyone with much less stress and mental health issues escalating.  It seems our approach has cost us worstening of other health issues, depression, anxiety and devastation of numerous relationships.  I hope that it is worth it, and implies that the world will no longer be the same.  In the next few months, we will truly see the  effects  of a devastating economic  pinch.

    The is no science that can guide "re-opening".   Firstly, we were never truly closed.  You may hear about complex modelling, being used.  These mathematical principles make numerous assumptions and use estimates.  In other epidemics, most of them were very far off the mark, and rarely mentioned.   Any science behind these things, is full of estimates and assumptions.   I think our politicians are slowly realizing the differences and it makes it difficult for them to make decisions without ramifications at this point.   


Covid19 update

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Covid19 Update May 11, 2020

Lockdown continues.  There is no word of getting protective equiptmen, nor of any guidelines of how to re-open a large medical center. We remain hopeful.

     You may becoming tired of hiding, sleeping in, experiencing irrational fears and repeatedly  hand washing.  I am becoming paranoid at the number of people who ring my doorbell and run.  Bored of attending webinars, I enjoy calling random numbers in third world countries to sell duct cleaning or reclaim taxes.   A year ago I may have been prescribed therapy and medication.  I am increasingly following the Swedish situation which is accomplishing the same thing in a slightly different way.  They were criticized initially for using sensible distancing vs social isolation, but defended it with scientific basis. People there are worried, take care to minimize spread but schools, and shops remain open.   Lets just take a short reality check.  Viruses and humans have co-existed for eons and it is worth looking at why this relationship has always existed.  Malaria, tuberculosis and flu viruses are still the main problems on this planet.  Swine flu, ebola, west nile, SARS, polio, are all epidemics that many of us have ridden through. One truism is that ALL PANDEMICS fizzle down.   Why we dont take advice from the repeated play books the front line commanders write afterwards is bewildering.  It would be useful to have those experienced frontliners from previous campaigns explain things.  Turning the TV on only brings on a plethora of possibly well intentioned politicians and doctors who oversimplify and have difficulty explaining the situation.  Encouraging people to hide, creates false hope that it will simply go away.

     Good and significant data is emerging, but shared only in limited circles.  A methodical study in a major outbreak center in Germany now suggests that, most people who have had the virus, got through it fine, and further calculate that the rare complication and death rate is much lower than the 10 -14 % estimated at the onset. Their data suggest in the range of 0.02%.  The clinical picture of Covid19 differs and behaves slightly different, but the front line workers have adapted and learned a great deal.  This results in earlier recognition of the rare complications and less intubation.  Any serious lung infection affects the elderly and those who are infirm and bedbound much worse.  An unusual difference with Covid is that the rare person deteriorates very suddenly, a scary sight for all involved.  It also takes a few days longer to develope or notice any symptoms. 

     The curve you hear about, is an idealized concept based on calculated theory and not really science.  Most epidemics dont follow idealized curves, but are lop-sided or have many ripples, so expect the same.  Pushing down a peak to allow for better care makes sense, but how to do it remains a hot discussion topic. Closing borders AFTER your are inundated makes no sense, is was done more for political pressures than anything else. Wuhan was locked down completely with no movement of any kind, arrests, roadblocks and violence, but too late to make any difference according to textbooks.  What border closures have done is to turn a PANDEMIC into dozens of mini Epidemics.  Each will have its own set of problems, poverty, lack of resources, etc and ways of handling things, so comparisons will be hard to make.  Bill Gates gave a TED talk five years ago, and his predictions were spot on and impressivly accurate.  His message was ignored.

      Our immune system is amazing and complex.  Many of us will only need the circulating inate immune system to get through this, while others will manufacture reinforcements such as antibodies to complete the job.  A recent letter to the editor appeared in local papers submitted by a group of medical experts.  It was relegated to the back pages, but stressed that it looks like spread is by droplet fashion.  Droplets are heavy and dont travel far.  The significance is that this implies that it takes a very LARGE viral load, perhaps millions to infect someone to the point of symptoms.  This directly speaks to the fear that a box on your doorstep will not result in infection. Over 90% of people who thought they had covid and went for testing were negative.  This suggests that you may want to worry more about the multitude of other bugs found in the environment around us.  Health workers are prone to being exposed to high doses


Covid19 update

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Covid19 update May 11,2020

for our patients who are calling Peel health and cannot get a test or advice.  Trillium Health partners has put together a virtual assesment center.

You can access it at this link:  trilliumhealthpartners.ca/assessment

If the lockdown is causing anxiety and depression please visit:   https://bouncebackontario.ca/

 A  daily walk in the fresh air has always been advocated for health, and I continue to stand by this advice.   Keep your immune system healthy with fresh vegetables, fruits and meat. No juice or pop.  Supplement with Vit C, and Vit D, since you are not in the sun.  Avoid sugar and reduce carbohydrates. Most importantly, a lockdown is a situation where rights are restricted.  In these situations the effect on other aspects of our mental and physical health is enormous.

TIP OF THE WEEK:  Besides hiding and washing your hands, an obvious ommission has been made by our leaders.  It seems that most Canadians now come with cell phones fused to their hands.  Just try and remove one from a teenager, and you will see my point.   My message to Canadians would be to  CLEAN YOUR CELL PHONE AND DO IT OFTEN.  I was amused to watch a colleague fully gown up, meticulously wash and scrub, and then make a cell phone call followied by tucking the device in a back pocket.  People seem to have cell phones glued to their hands these days, so a lot more attention needs to be paid to this.


     It seems that no one thought this through and set up a protocol for the next step after lockdown.  How do you emerg from a situation when there is no science to guide the way.  Some will simply cook the numbers to support their actions, others will admit to the difficulty and futility. New patterns established in months of isolation do not reverse easily.  How does a society come out of a lockdown that has devastated our economy. I am often at a loss of what to tell family members who have been in isolation for months without any sign of disease, that they cannot touch or hug one another.  When you do emerge from hiding, the streets will be full of  a mix of covid survivors, an occasional sick person,   those with natural or acquired immunity and everyone else.  The fear will be immense.  It will be natural and almost expected that people will try to avoid buildings that perform close examinations of sick people.  We will spend a great deal of time making accusatory glances at all strangers, since all microbes are virtually invisible to us.  There will be covid vigilantism emerging as already happened in some rural towns.   Stay calm, use common sense and try to enjoy the beautiful days when you can. 

 Wearing a mask when going out amongst other humans, is an effective and good way to carry on.  You have many levels of protection that you may not be aware of.   Our skin is designed to be an effective protective barrier.  Virus and bacteria can't penetrate it, unless it is damaged.  Even though you may not of heard this message,  it is possible to overwash your hands, particularly if using strong soaps or any bleach type cleaner.  Strong chemicals can breech the integrity of a well functioning skin layer.


Covid19 update

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Covid19 Update, April 27,2020

We are about four months into the appearance of this virus. Things are starting to slow down a bit. I caution you to not view the numbers as golf scores. We really don't know how many people are infected despite the news people stating otherwise. The numbers they are referring to generally refer to the more serious cases that seek help and get a swab done.  The true recovery rate is unknown, since it depends on knowing how many have the disease at the onset, something we simply make up or estimate.  Currently, even though the greater Toronto area is the hotspot, our hospital resources are not overwhelmed.

Some interesting points that I have picked up by attending frontline medical rounds broadcasts from New York, Italy and London.

We will not need as many intubation machines as first thought. The doctors that give the best advice are those on the very front lines, and not those on the news.  There are emergency doctors in New York and Italy that have had a great deal of experience dealing with the 2 percent of serious cases that newscasters sensationalize.  They found ways to improve initial treatment and outcome. You may have heard that the need to intubate has greatly decreased. Doctors now recognize that the virus causes a inflammation in the chest. It is often not having any symptoms. Initially this finding along with measuring low oxygen blood values resulted in someone needing to be intubated. We can now use a very simple device called an oximeter to measure your blood oxygen and guide early treatment or even help with the diagnosis. We've also discovered that changing positions, which is what non sedated people normally do during sleep improves their oxygen transport and requires less intensive care.

As of yet we still have not received any personal protective equipment in the medical building adjacent to the hospital. This will create a significant problem in how to open up society after the lockdown, and start providing non emergency care.  With the current data, the first assumption will be that everyone is susceptible, except those that had a positive test.   In fact, if you look at the textbooks, they suggest that many had and fought the virus without knowing it.  The numbers will drop, they always do.  We will probably use this tid bit to confirm that lock-downs work, without any good evidence to support.  The danger to the economy is that if we adopt this way of life, and lock down during flu seasons,and subsequent respiratory outbreaks, our way of life will change with a great deal of more poverty.

The vaccine is a long way off. The coronavirus is a common cold virus that we see a lot of, with more severe strains causing SARS and MERS.  Interestingly, work began on vaccine production 15 years ago. Bill Gates gave a Ted talk on YouTube in 2015. It is short and sweet but almost predicts this pandemic to the fine detail. The best vaccines worked really well and were developed 60 years ago:  polio, tetanus, smallpox, diptheria, measles, mumps and rubella.  The other ones tend to not work as well and need repeating such as the annual flu-shot. It make sense that coronavirus vaccine will fall into this less effective class.

In the medical world, we are seriously questioning the numbers coming from China. They are deftly misleading and under calculated. Unfortunately, this creates a legal – political problem more than a medical one. I hope the ramifications from the economic meltdown will not affect us too seriously. There is a tremendous back log of regular work that needs to be done in the medical system that this has created. Even when reopened, the system works close to its maximum so the ability to take up any slack will produce backups and slowdowns for months if not years.

Be safe be healthy


covid19 update

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Covid19 Update Apr 22,2020

    Lock down and isolation orders have been extended till mid May.  The medical system is awaiting an onslaught of serious cases that I sincerely hope dont materialize.

I have redeployed to hospital responsibilies in the surgical division if  needed.  We continue to monitor and deal with urgent problems by phone and other means.

Most of my specialty colleagues are doing the same.  We have pretty well run out of protective equiptment in the office, and are awaiting new shipments.

We have fho after hours availability for very urgent matters.  You must first call the physicians office to be screened and advised.  An onsite visit may be required.

To help with any potential backlogs, many previous medical scripts are being rewritten.  Prenatal care is being revised to accomodate the current situation, as is pediatric and well baby care.

For those worried about Covid, please take the quiz at covid-19.ontario.ca.       As isolation continues, we expect to see a rise in mood and stress disorders.  You can now access a counsellor for help by calling 289-291-5396 in our region.    Also see www.bouncebackontario.ca   1-866-345-0224  for anxiety and depression.

Sick notes are not required as part of the emergency legislation.

Sick notes – see CMA statement, urging all employers to discontinue requirement for sick notes during COVID-19. The Ontario Government introduced changes to the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 – the legislation will also make it clear employees cannot be required to show sick notes: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-supporting-workers-municipalities-and-retailers-in-response-to-covid-19.html
 
We continue to monitor our phone messages for urgent matters. Please be patient during these times.  We can renew your prescriptions, but the orders suggest that pharmacies limit dispensing to 30 day amounts.   Referrals for routine matters are temporarily on hold.  Routine paperwork and forms will be collected and completed when time and circumstances allow.
 
Please take time to reach out and call anyone that you are aware of in self isolation. It can be a very trying experience to endure this alone.  There are more bright lights appearing in the dark cloudy horizon.  Learn to recognize them and enshrine them.
 
I have posted an editorial piece from today New York Times, that gives great advice from the battle hardened front lines of New York City. See editorial pieces on right column of website.

COVID19 update

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Covid19 update Mar 30, 2020

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 was recently amended to include an unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave. This leave is available to employees who are not performing the duties of their position for certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:

 

SICK NOTES ARE NOT REQUIRED

· personal illness, quarantine or isolation in specified circumstances

· concern by the employer that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to COVID-19

· to provide care or support to certain family members for a reason related to COVID-19, including school or day care closures

· due to certain travel-related restrictions

The leave is retroactive to January 25, 2020. Employers cannot require employees to provide medical notes to prove they are eligible for the leave. Learn more.

In addition, Ontario declared an emergency due to COVID-19 on March 17, 2020. During a declared emergency, an employee may have the right to take an unpaid, job protected leave if the employee will not be performing the duties of his or her position because of the emergency and because certain circumstances apply. More information will be available soon in this guide.

Due to orders that have been issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the minimum standards under the ESA that are described in this Guide may apply differently to certain employees during the declared COVID-19 emergency. You can find the orders by visiting the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act online and selecting the “Regulations Under This Act” tab.

 

  Premier Ford has extended the Emergency Order in Effect for Ontario till at least April 14, 2020.  This implies that everyone should stay at home and not venture out unless it is an emergency.  For those worried about coronavirus, please take the following assesment quiz,  https://covid-19.ontario.ca/.

We will continue to work in isolation, and provide services.  We will accomplish as much as possible by phone, fax and other remote means. Messages will be returned.  For urgent medical matters we will arrange specific assesment times.  Those with fever and infection will be triaged elsewhere until protection equiptment arrives.Please continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene. 

We continue to remain under an emergency order to remain at home, maintain proper hygiene and distancing.  I am very impressed with how our political and medical leadership have responded to the Covid19 situation when compared to our southern neighbours, who continue to bicker and fight amongst themselves, while the situation continues to peak and the economy suffers.  Seeing our prime minister on television daily, giving a calm and responsive approach, is helpful. The opposition support this effort. A similar approach is taken by the premier, and the head of my own OMA has been relentlessly mobilizing efforts and providing validated information. The medical community is mobilizing. Locally, we are preparing to bolster and support innitiatives and we will be redeployed to aid  hospital congestion. 

   I am dissappointed how the numbers are broadcast like a factual hockey score. Simply reporting how many positive swabs were processed in a day, and how many deaths occurred without context leads to fear.  The numbers are very complex and different. For numerous reasons, you cannot compare countries around the globe without considering complex variables. Much more context is needed around these numbers. This creates a fear, and overloads hospitals. It is drying up supplies needlessly that may be needed later.  There  is a fear based demand for testing and the results show that only about 3% are positive, and most of those are sent home.


COVID19 update

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Covid19 update Mar 30,2020 

   

    I saw a somewhat distressing advice given by a hired medical source on a national news network, that suggested that people leave their homes and run out to get a flu and pneumonia shot.  I disagee and thought sharing some insight may help. A quote from en-slaved poet Taras Shevchenko states; "to overcome an adversity, first learn all you can about it".  There is a big difference between bacteria and viruses.  Bacteria are the car, and a virus is the bolt on a wheel.  Viruses are very simple and microscopic.  Coronavirus, has a bit of RNA in it, a lipid coat with some protiens on it. That's it. If you disrupt the coat with alcohol or soap, it becomes non functional and decomposes. DNA analytic techniques may find the "remains" weeks later, but cant tell if the virus is alive or dead. Hence rumours of persistence are born. Dead viruses dont infect. At any given time, our skin, and external body cavities are colonized with hundreds of different bacteria, fungi and viruses.  Our skin and innate immune system keep it all in balance.  It takes a minimum infective dose to create infection.   For coronavirus, this means that you need a large number of virus being delivered to the lung simultaneously. It could be dozens or thousands.  One particle on an egg carton dosnt stand a chance.  This is why health workers are more at risk. When an infected patient coughs, they are capable of spreading a million virus particles in every salivary droplet expelled. It's the natural course.  If these are directly inhaled and reach the lungs, then a new infection can occurr.  It is important to understand the life cycle of respiratory and cold viruses.  When a large particle  load reaches the lungs, our first line of defence kicks in.  These immune cells try to create an unfavourable environment to reduce replication, and buy some time for our immune factories to design specific killer antibodies.  This general response produces inflammation via particles called cytokines and interleukin.  We can feel this going on, with fever, sore throat, muscle aches, chills and fatigue.  The virus wants to borrow lung cells, and use their machinery to produce more viruses, which will be expelled with coughing.  In some people this immune response is quite substantial.  When you get inflammation around lung alveoli, which is a very thin area that transfers oxygen to blood, this oxygen transfer is difficult to occurr.  People whose immune systems are not up to par, have a delay in producing viral antibodies, and  this first response persists longer.  This can produce Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.  Oxygen or a respirator can enhance this needed oxygen transfer and if the antibody response catches up, things will get resolved.  However, many people with other medical disorders and poor lifestyles experience more severe effects.  A flu-shot will afford some immunity to some influenza viruses and none against coronavirus.  The pneumonia shot is designed for bacteria, and may help when bacteria overwhelm natural defences and enter the blood. 

 

    Having coronavirus on your body, clothing or other object is not too worrisome.  It is when you bring substantial amounts to your mouth that can cause problems.  Hand washing is a great idea.  Wearing a mask, when in close contact to people is also a good idea. For others it has the benefit of stopping unconscious mouth touching.  Full protective gear is recommended for those working with Covid19 infected patients due to the large virus loads involved.  

 

 


Covid19 update

Thursday, March 26, 2020

 

Covid19 Update March 27, 2020

       The whole world has changed in the last week.   I hope to provide some balance to the numbers for you.

    In Ontario we have about 837 confirmed corona-SAR2 virus illness.  13 people passed away.  In Canada we have 2,892 confirmed cases with 28 deaths.  Compare that to Influenz A&B which we have 52,526 cases with 97 deaths countrywide.  All these respiratory illnesses look similar and Influenza B is favouring the young.   Those that passed away as a rule,  had multiple medical conditions that they had been chronically struggling with and often required chronic care setting. The virus contributed to the death, but was not the sole cause.   Unfortunately, there will be the odd young healthy person that may succumb.   This will make the news headlines, so please keep things in context.   Most cases of respiratory illness are recovering at home.   In Ontario, we have conducted 38,550 swabs to date. These were sick people who were medically assessed prior to swabbing.   Only 837 tested positive.  No mention of what the other 37,713 patients had.  It underscores that respiratory viruses are largely invisible and symptoms look alike.   Most of the rest probably had influenza or a rhinovirus.   There is little use in asking to be swabed, except if you become critical.   The real numbers of how many cases are circulating is nothing but a guess.  You have to multiply the confirmed cases by a factor of 10-100 to ball park it.   It is analogous to counting how many fish there are in a lake, but fishing for 8 hours, and then using the number of fish you caught to estimate the real number.

    Many people misunderstand what the current emergency lockdown is meant to do.  There is a lot of unpredictable science at work, besides reminding us that grandma was correct about the washing, breathing and touching stuff.  Containment involves locking down a geographical area immediately to stop spread at the onset (i.e.dec19)  When China got overwhelmed and locked down millions of citizens, other countries were too nice to do the same.  I guess the lessons of SARS were forgotten.  Train, plane and ship travel continued for months,  until one world leader decided to follow suite and suddenly every other leader seems to think the same.  What academics realize is the current strategy of minimizing movement is  NOT aimed to erradicate the virus.  At best, it will slow the spread so that our medical system will not be overwhelmed.  Anyone who visits an Ontario hospital over Christmas witnesses how influenza paralyzes us annually.   It implies that the numbers will continue to keep climbing unless we find leaders who can crunch the numbers to real and definable things and provide comparisons to other diseaeses.   Good news is that greater than 99 percent of people do fine with respiratory viruses as a group.  We dont have a vaccine yet,  and there are medications that show some promise to help  those critical cases that require some assistance with breathing to recover.   Your best defence is your immune system.  Keep it healthy, eat fresh vegtables and fruit, avoid sugar particularly of the fructose variety. 

    Our medical center is now directly across from a Covid19 testing site. A lot of security, tape, tents, masks etc.  Please be assured that all proper precautions are being taken.   The emergency order, has resulted in more strigent refinements to provide health care.  Only essential care is being provided face to face.  Restrictions on telephone care have been temporarily relaxed to allow health care workers to provide care by phone.  We will screen all calls, and many patients will receive phone advice by one of our health team.   If you need to come in,  you will be given a specific time. Social distancing will be in effect, waiting rooms will be very limited.   Staff will remain behind glass shields. There is no need to produce OHIP cards unless changes .  Our lab and xray are only dealing with essential cases.   We have pretty well run out of most protective equiptment and cannot provide masks or  gowns.   We follow stringent disinfection between patients, and  ask that  you not dwell around the building and proceed directly home.   We are unable to see anyone with acute respiratory illness, and possible covid19 cases are being referred to public health.   We have NO SWABS.   This is not the time to deal with lists of minor issues.

 

 


COVID19 update March 21,2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

Covid19 update March 21, 2020

     Hope that you are all doing well. Covid19 confirmed by swab numbers are still creeping up, mostly because only certain group gets tested. It seems that the actual numbers are vastly higher with milder severity in our populations.  Influenza has slightly decreased.  People with  covid19 are not generally hospitalized or intubated, and we probably have numerous people who recovered and dont realize they had it.  We are not new to this by any measure. Theoretically, the same measures have been advocated to combat influenza viruses for the last 25 years.  I think it is a work in progress to learn how devastating this can be to the economy and peoples mental well being.  Vaccine is far from a miracle and work is going at a feverish level.  There is a huge monetary incentive to be the first in this regard.   More interesting is the discovery that more and more medications that we have used for other purposes can be used to decrease viral levels in an infected person so that the rare person may avoid a critical level.  This would be the best case scenario, as it would result in a good immune response by our immune systems. Almost sounds like a strategy mother nature would employ.

    Our medical building is on lock down for acutely ill people that fit the symptoms. They should be calling the health department hotline and going to a covid19 assesment center.   Testing is best reserved for those in hospital that require intense care.  Lets not forget that we are dealing with viruses that have a natural place in the world and are not trying to wipe out the human race. This is how viruses exist, and probably contribute some benefit to the human genome as a whole. One of the truisms in virology is that viruses which are too lethal, are not virtually invisible as this is. Ebola produces bleeding from all orafices, smallpox warns us with charactertic rashes.  A negative test, means you are sick with something else, and can't determine if you overcame corid or are still susceptible.

  More troublesome is the language used. "War has been declared, borders closing, people locking themselves in, hoarding supplies, arming themselves." I wont even start to mentions rumours coming from the those that should know better, that spur the mass hysteria.  Imagine, being a leaf fan, and the only hockey score ever announced was how many goals the leaf score. No mention of how many their opponents score or who won,  or other teams.  Stanley cup certainty mania would start for sure.

   I have been caught in this situation by being on the wrong side of the border when quarantine was announced, and now am working from an off site location in seclusion for 14 days.  On another positive note,  numerous organizations have come together including the CPSO, ministry of health, public health, OMA, CMA, CMPA to allow doctors to perform virtual medicine and phone assesments during the emergency measures.  Matters of confidentiality still matter, and it is recognized by all that advice can only be limited at best.   Despite contacting government stores for protective equiptment 6 weeks ago, it has not arrived and will not be arriving any time soon.  ie. the troops on the gound are trained and ready to go.  The have purchased their own equiptment, but alas, the requisitions for ammunition is still being considered, despite the battle has been ongoing for 3 mos.  This does not allow effective front line treatment of any air borne infections in the office setting.  Our staff and physicians will attempt to field your concerns for non infectious situations on a priority basis.  Leave a message on our phones, be a little patient and we will try to reach out, refill scripts, arrange procedures etc. for you during this time. In office policies will change soon to adjust to the numerous and ever changing guidelines which seem to changing on a daily basis.

   Please keep your wits about you. Keep those other illnesses under control, because that makes a big difference. We are here for you and we will get through this together.  But life will be different and there will be more challenges coming.