News March 23 to March 30
Candice Vetter, reporting from North Russell home office
First in the news.
Community transmission of COVID-19 is now in Ottawa.
Ottawa's medical officer of health, Vera Etches, said five confirmed cases of COVID-19 were spread by community transmission.
“They had no contact with another case that we can find,” she said. By using computer modelling Etches estimated that up to 4,000 people in Ottawa could be infected.
She also confirmed that a health care worker at the Ottawa Hospital has tested positive. The worker, whose age is in the 30s, lives in Prescott Russell and close contacts the person had are being contacted.
In Ontario testing for COVID-19 still prioritizes front-line workers, patients with symptoms who have been hospitalized, and vulnerable people in facilities like long-term care homes and retirement homes.
Etches suggests people be prepared for the long haul. "It is worth preparing, psychologically and practically, to imagine that we need to maintain the social distancing for a much longer period of time," she said.
People will need to develop new daily routines to avoid patients flooding the health care system.
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Snowbirds returning from the United States, or any other country, MUST self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada. They are reminded that self-isolation means not going to a store, a bank, a gas station, a pharmacy, or to visit a friend. If you need groceries get them delivered and pick them up outside your door, then carefully clean everything that comes in. Clean all surfaces and clothing, and stay six feet away from the other persons in your home if they did not travel.
Every day governments are cracking down harder on people who do not obey these emergency measures, including arrests, fines, and setting up snitch lines. In Ontario the OPP will be issuing fines.
Even travel between provinces is being restricted. Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, being islands, are able to catch anyone coming in on a ship, a ferry or across the Confederation Bridge. A 14-day self-isolation is being imposed upon anyone from outside those two provinces.
Although more difficult to enforce, other provinces and the territories may soon follow suit.
Meanwhile, here in Eastern Ontario, testing cannot keep up with demand. So the Eastern Ontario Health Unit instructs residents NOT to visit an assessment centre, unless you have been referred by a health care professional.
Do not call 911 unless it is a true emergency.
If you have symptoms the health unit instructs you to call your doctor (or other primary care provider) or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. Last week the health unit was also giving its phone number, 1-800-267-7120, but it’s unclear if that is still an option. However, we do know that Telehealth was overwhelmed with calls recently.
If you have SEVERE symptoms you should still go to Emergency, BUT call first so they can prepared to safely receive you.
The Winchester and District Memorial Hospital in Winchester is planning for the opening of a COVID-19 Assessment Centre but there is currently no planned opening date.
If it opens the Assessment Centre will be in the Lions Club hall on Albert Street. Signage will be in place regarding entrances and parking. This will help keep the Emergency Department for emergencies.
More details about the Assessment Centre will be provided as available.
Learning at home
The Province of Ontario launched Learn at Home, a new online portal for students to continue their educations while schools are closed.
Learn at Home offers Ontario math and literacy resources, created by Ontario-certified educators, in both English and French.
For students who do not have access to a computer, school boards are working to provide the technology to everyone who needs it.
There are numerous other sources of educational materials appearing on Facebook and other social media platforms. Children, teens and adults can access courses ranging from learning to play an instrument, to language lessons ,to math and science, to play-dough recipes. See https://www.tvokids.com/school-age https://www.tvomathify.com https://moneureka.ca
The Orléans Urgent Care Clinic remains open for evaluation of non-respiratory illnesses.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic the patient volume at the Orléans Urgent Care Clinic has significantly decreased. Therefore the Clinic has doctors and nurses available now for evaluation of non-Coronavirus medical problems. This includes trauma, laceration and fracture management, work related injuries, Ontario Licence renewal exams, and other medical issues such as abdominal pain, infections, rashes, and medications.
Canadian Diagnostic Network continues to provide X-rays and Ultrasound examinations to non-COVID patients referred from the clinic at 1220 Place D’Orléans Drive, Orléans.
No appointment is necessary. Patients will be triaged upon arrival. There is NO Coronavirus testing or management.
For more information on health information see the links below.
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Public health contact numbers during the epidemic:
Government of Ontario Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, the province’s COVID-19)web page will be updated including the status of cases in Ontario. https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000 Ottawa Public Health http://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/coronavirus 613-580-6744 Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region: Distress: 613-238-3311 Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991. https://www.dcottawa.on.ca.