January 31, 2020 COVID-19 report


Dear RNAO member,

Here is the latest situational report #7 dated Jan. 31, 2020 - from the Ministry of Health’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) about the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

It has been almost a week since Ontario reported its first case of the coronavirus. Today, we learned of a third positive case in our province in the city of London, involving a woman in her twenties with mild symptoms and who is recovering at home in self-isolation. The other two positive cases in Ontario are evolving well. The 52-year-old man who was being treated for the virus at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital was discharged home this morning (Jan 31). His wife, who also tested positive, is also recovering at home in self-isolation.

The only other Canadian case involves a man in B.C. who had travelled to the affected area in China. He, too, is recovering at home in self-isolation.

A key message we want you to know is that so far, the risk of spread, in Ontario, remains low, according to the Chief Medical Officers of Health for Ontario and Canada. Nonetheless, our government in Ontario assures us that it has several months of N-95 masks stockpiled as part of its inventory, should the nature of the spread evolve. That is what we, at RNAO, call proactive planning.  

As promised, we have received important protocols and other materials.

A handful of you have questions and we are responding to those as promised. Please be also aware that the ministry has set up a health provider hotline to answer questions you and other health sector employers may have regarding the outbreak, protocols, preparedness, etc. The toll free number is 1-866-212-2272. Another excellent source of information is a health provider website, which went live this week. It is being updated regularly with useful resources. We want to reinforce that the health provider website and the toll free number are for you – as a health professional – and not for members of the general public. 

Similarly, the sector guidance materials we are including in this daily update should not be shared beyond the health-care community. The ministry’s public website on the novel coronavirus exists to inform the general public. Please feel free to let family and friends in your community know about this public website.

Finally, we thank you again and again, for your commitment to the profession and the day-to-day work you do on behalf of Ontarians to ensure they are getting excellent care.

A note regarding this Saturday and Sunday: We will only send an update to you if we receive updates from the government or public health officials. Otherwise, you will hear from us on Monday.

With warm regards and wishing all a good weekend!

Doris Grinspun, RN,MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, O.ONT
Chief Executive Officer / RNAO