COVID-19 Update – March 15, 2020
Sioux Lookout, ON
As our organization continues to monitor COVID-19 developments on a global, national, regional and local level, we encourage the public to continue practicing good handwashing, respiratory etiquette and social distancing. Information related to these practices is available online at the Northwestern Health Unit’s website.
While the situation involving COVID-19 is serious, we understand that people are feeling nervous and afraid at times based on the many reports and rumours circulating constantly. We encourage everyone to remain calm, stay well-informed through the Public Health Ontario website, and to be considerate of the needs of others.
We recognize that the information related to COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly and our top priority is the health and safety of our patients, their families, our staff and physicians and the communities we serve. We continue to be on heightened awareness and have implemented not only our hospital pandemic plan but also directives from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long Term Care as they relate to the hospital setting and the William B. George Extended Care facility.
We understand that the restrictions related to screening and visitors are difficult for many people; however they have been put in place for the safety of everyone including our most vulnerable populations. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
At this time, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) has not received any reports of patients with COVID-19 in the hospital or at the Extended Care facility.
We remind the public of the following important information:
Patient Safety and SLMHC Screening
Effective Wednesday, March 11, 2020, mandatory screening for symptoms of COVID-19 at the William B. George Extended Care Facility was implemented upon the direction of the Ministry of Long Term Care. This is a precautionary measure taken at all long-term care homes across the province to limit the spread of the infection amongst a particularly vulnerable population.
Effective Saturday, March 14, 2020, the same measures have been implemented at the hospital site. Enhanced measures, at both the hospital and extended care sites include:
- Screening for COVID-19 symptoms at all entrances.
- Any individual including staff and physicians coming into the hospital or extended care facility will be greeted by screeners. Screening includes asking about symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing) and having your temperature taken. Anyone screening positive will not be permitted to enter unless seeking medical care. Information on self-monitoring and self-isolation will be available to those who are symptomatic.
- Prioritizing patient safety
- During screening, everyone will be asked to wash their hands before leaving the screening area.
- Internal policies
- Travel restrictions, meetings/social gatherings and training suspended internally, screening and best practices in place.
- Visitor restriction
- During this time, visitors are not permitted into the facilities, with the exception of an essential pre-identified visitor (care partner or medical escorts).
- Elective Services
- All elective services have been suspended until further notice. This includes elective surgeries and appointments in areas including the rehabilitation department and diabetes program, and may extend to other areas. Our staff will contact anyone who is affected by this and whose appointment will need to be rescheduled or postponed.
Our advice to everyone is to practice everyday actions to prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Practice proper respiratory etiquette – see link below
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands first before touching your face.
- Avoid contact with people who are ill. Practice social distancing- maintain a distance of six-feet between yourself and individuals who may be infected.
- Stay home if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or the Northwestern Health Unit at 1-800-830-5978 for further direction.
- Seek medical care if required. Disclose symptoms and any recent travel history.
SLMHC continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care, Public Health Ontario, Ontario Health North and all of our partners in health in planning and encouraging infection prevention and control strategies.
While this situation is very serious on a global level, we encourage the public to stay well-informed. Please know that our staff is aware of the necessary measures to respond to concerns and that SLMHC is meeting with all partners in health on a regular basis in an effort to remain consistent with ongoing plans.
If you have a medical emergency, as always, call 911 or come to the Emergency Department
Please note that the status of COVID-19 is changing daily across Canada and the world.
For the most up to date and reputable information on COVID-19, as well as information on best practices for self-monitoring and self-isolation, please visit www.phac-aspc.gc.ca or www.publichealthontario.ca.