Dear Patients (updated 10DEC20)

As you know, the province continues to have a surge in the cases of COVID-19. COVID-19 is the term used to describe the respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (coronavirus).

Many measures remain in place in order to slow the spread of this virus in Canada. Fortunately most cases of infection are mild or moderate in severity and require no treatment at all, just rest and staying at home.  However, COVID-19 can be a serious illness for some.

Here is video to understand more about the virus.

In order to do our part to slow the surging cases of the virus and follow the directives of the Ontario Ministry of Health, the following modified clinic operations continue:

  1. The office staff availability varies by doctor and floor.  Please contact your doctors office to book a telephone appointment.  
     
  2. For the foreseeable future, all appointments will be booked as telephone assessments (and we do not have a date when regular in-person visits might resume).  If you have a telephone appointment booked, you will receive a phone call from a blocked or unknown number so please answer the phone. If you do not answer, a new appointment will have to be scheduled.

    If a physical (in-person) examination is required you will be provided very specific instructions from your physician on how and when that will occur.   

    Please note “annual physical examinations” are not deemed essential and these are not being booked at this time.  

     

  3. If you have any respiratory-related or other COVID symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste or smell) or other secondary symptoms and you are concerned about COVID-19 you can use this COVID-19 self-assessment tool and follow its advice.  Select for Self-Isolation Instructions, Ontario Public Health has a Self-Isolation document as well. 

  4. If you are HIV-positive and are on anti-retrovirals then there is no evidence to suggest you are at higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 nor are you at greater risk for having more severe disease if you do.  This is our current understanding. The International Aids Society website has excellent answers to most questions.

  5. If you are HIV-positive or on PrEP and you are now due or overdue to complete blood work, please contact your physician to receive emailed requisitions that you can print, or they also be faxed directly to Lifelabs. For prescription refills, please have your pharmacy fax a request for medication renewals as per the usual protocol. If you have stopped your PrEP because you are physically distancing please arrange for a telephone appointment for instructions on how to resume your medication properly.

  6. COVID-19 tests can only be done at designated assessment centres in Toronto, and some pharmacies
    Select to find one near you (the closest to our clinic is at Women’s College Hospital).  Please read through the instructions on this site to see if you qualify for testing based on the current public health recommendations, which change frequently.  Patients report the best service at the centres located at St. Michael’s Hospital and Michael Garron (formerly Toronto East General) Hospital. 

  7. A blood test for COVID-19 antibodies is available through Dynacare labs, it costs $70 and you need a requisition from a physician to have the test done.

  8. If you have severe respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath or fever that is not responding to Tylenol then you should go to an emergency department.  Mask yourself when leaving the house.  Advise the staff there that you have severe respiratory symptoms. 

  9. Prevention is critical – practice both physical distancing and washing your hands properly or using hand sanitizer frequently.  Select for more information about face masks.
    Practice both physical distancing of at least 2 metres, wear a mask when indoors in public places and when you cannot maintain a 2 metre space, and wash your hands properly. Currently, community virus spread is common.  This coronavirus is mainly spread by respiratory droplets/aerosols, and infection can occur 1-3 days before you might have any symptoms.  A mask will help protect you and protect others. Even if you feel fine you still might be contagious.  A variety of masks have become widely available. Wear a mask accordingly to local by- laws, this is usually when you cannot ensure physical distancing or are in- doors. Currently masking is the best known measure of protection.

  10. Vaccines – Primary care/ family practice offices will NOT be administering the COVID-19 vaccines,  at least for the initial rollout and foreseeable future.  These details may change over time and we will update our website when we learn more.

  11. Mental health maintenance is important during these times when we have been asked to stay home.  Our clinic website has information about online resources to help look after your mental health. 

  12. If you are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow this advice to protect yourself and others in the home, as well as those in your community.

  13. Thank you for your cooperation during this pandemic.