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    COVID-19

    RNAO is vigorously engaged in COVID-19 action, serving nurses and other health professionals so that they can serve the public.

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Shaking the stigma: We need a proactive COVID-19 response for mental health and addiction

Today, we spotlight the needs of persons requiring mental health and addiction services, one of the most neglected sectors in healthcare. On behalf of RNAO, our tremendous appreciation to Kim Moran (CEO, Children’s Mental Health Ontario), Adrienne Spafford (CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario) and Camille Quenneville (CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario) for contributing the article that follows. RNAO calls on government to immediately heed their call!

RNAO’s VIANurse Program

RNAO continues its strong advocacy on the need to expand the capacity of Ontario’s health system to meet emerging health needs in tackling COVID-19. RNAO was the first out the door addressing growing nursing human resource shortages, as many RNs, NPs and PSWs are being quarantined and/or falling sick, and staffing needs escalate together with the acuity of the pandemic.

We require expanded and accessible COVID-19 data in Ontario

Issues of fullness and accessibility of data are central to the understanding of any pandemic and the design of effective policy responses. We have asked Dr. Jennifer Kwan, a family physician in Burlington, Ontario, to expand on this key topic. What follows is her article. I encourage you to follow her on Twitter – @jkwan_md – her feed is an excellent source of useful data on COVID-19.

Can loss of smell and taste help screen for COVID-19?

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COVID-19 is a mysterious disease with high rate of transmission even among individuals with virtually no symptoms. Recent news articles and studies from around the world have suggested that loss of smell and taste may be specific and early symptoms for COVID-19. In Ontario, a research group led by Dr. John Lee from the University of Toronto based out of St. Michael’s Hospital is working on this project.

Letter from Ottawa Public Health

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Ottawa Public Health thanks RNAO for recruiting nurses through the VIANurse program. OPH was able to quickly enhance its capacity for triaging, test results, case management and contact tracing by an additional 100 nurses, so that service could be provided 7 days a week, without delay.

Plans for gradual re-opening of the economy

RNAO wants to stress the critical importance of engaging those plans in a responsible and cautious way. If we move to open the economy too fast we risk a second surge that would overwhelm the health care system. In such a case, not only we would lose many lives that can be saved, but also the economy would get a double hit by having to go back to a full lockdown.

A home based model to confront COVID-19 – the case of the Balearic Islands

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A crucial question we face as we start thinking beyond the pandemic is what systemic factors have contributed to worsening its impacts, and which ones have mitigated them. I have expressed earlier RNAO’s concerns that an excessive hospital orientation within the health system in Ontario, and the neglect of community-based approaches, is most likely a factor that has aggravated the impacts in our province. Today I am profiling the way that the Balearic Islands, a province of Spain, has tackled COVID-19 with an innovative primary care and home-based approach.

Need for accommodation away from home

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Need for accommodation away from home. We have been contacted by a number of health care providers asking about temporary accommodation for those working on the front lines. In our research to enlist hotels that will provide free or discounted accommodation we became aware of a program available to hospital staff that need temporary accommodation.