RNAO Updates

April 10 2021 COVID-19 report

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RNAO continues to monitor the expansion of variants of concern, in particular B.1.1.7 (originally identified in the UK), B.1.351 (originally identified in South Africa), and P.1 (originally identified in Brazil). B.1.1.7 is already dominant in Ontario and P.1 is expanding in BC, Alberta and Ontario. RNAO is watchful for public health measures that target people’s crowding and movement from region to region, as well as the speed and effectiveness of the vaccine rollout to vulnerable persons and regional/workplace hotspots.

April 3 2021 COVID-19 report

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Ontario’s health system is on the precipice of collapse and nothing short of a complete lockdown and stay-at-home order are needed to combat a fast and furious third wave of COVID-19 says the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). On Thursday (April 1), Premier Doug Ford announced what he is calling a province-wide 28-day “shutdown”. Under the plan, indoor dining and outdoor patio dining will no longer be permitted, with restaurants only able to offer take-out and delivery. Personal care services such as hair salons and barber shops will not be allowed to operate. However, under the government’s plan, many non-essential businesses will remain open with 25 per cent capacity, along with indoor religious services operating at 15 per cent capacity.

March 27 2021 COVID-19 report

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"The minister of health has said the next few weeks are critical and she is correct. However, at the same time Minister Elliott is warning Ontarians about the dangers variants of the virus pose, the government is issuing contradictory messages by relaxing public health measures designed to protect people's health. That's why we are urging Premier Ford to scale back reopening plans," says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun, including the latest plan to reopen personal care services such as hair salons and barber shops on April 12.

March 20 2021 COVID-19 report

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We asked nurses how their work had been impacted by the pandemic. While this may be an obvious question, we didn’t want to pre-judge the outcome. In response, 96% reported yes while 4% said no. We asked how concerned nurses were about work-related risks to their personal health due to COVID-19, and 60% reported being moderately or extremely concerned. Early on, the lack of personal protective equipment was a key concern and weighed heavily on nurses, particularly those working in hospitals and long-term care homes.

March 13 2021 COVID-19 report

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This past Thursday, March 11 marked the one-year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. What a year it has been for nurses, other health-care workers, and millions and millions of people affected by this extraordinary and life-changing event! Individuals at home and around the world have experienced loss and disruption in their lives during this trying time. March 11 was a day to reflect on the tragedy that rippled across the globe. It was also a day of hope as vaccinations advance and we prepare to navigate our way out of this disaster.

March 6 2021 COVID-19 report

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This coming Thursday, March 11, marks the one year anniversary of the pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization. It is sobering to reflect on all that has happened to people around the world since then. And yet there is a long road ahead before we reach the end of the COVID-19 ordeal. To share in this reflection, RNAO invites you to commemorate the anniversary with us.

February 27 2021 COVID-19 report

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As one of RNAO’s annual signature political action events, this year’s iteration looked a bit different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participants joined our President Morgan Hoffarth and our CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun for a four-hours afternoon event that included remarks from the premier, minister of health and leaders of the NDP, Liberal and Green parties, as well as NDP and Liberal party health critics. As a non-partisan association, RNAO has built solid partnerships with all parties to ensure nurses’ perspectives are shared around the decision-making tables of government, and that the issues and challenges of nurses, and the solutions we offer are always considered a priority.

February 20 2021 COVID-19 report

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RNAO remains extremely concerned about the premature lifting of public health restrictions in large parts of the province as a third wave of COVID driven by enormously dangerous new variants is almost certain to emerge. Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health said, “As a public health physician I have never been as concerned about the threat of COVID-19 to your health as I am now... The numbers don’t look so bad…But today’s variant count is the tip of an iceberg.” Dr. Lawrence Loh, the medical officer of health in Peel, added “The numbers are a mirage. You either pay now, or you pay more later.”

February 13 2021 COVID-19 report

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We are focusing on key aspects of the vaccine rollout that are essential to its success. These include: the need for transparent and detailed plans for the massive immunization campaign commencing in March; the need to engage public health and community providers as pillars of the rollout; the importance of giving priority to elderly Ontarians who are most likely to die from COVID‐19; and targeted efforts to vaccinate vulnerable populations that otherwise may be inoculated last, or not at all. We also urge you to ensure the vaccine rollout does not distract us from the life‐and‐death public health measures that must continue if we are to preempt a catastrophic third wave driven by new variants.

February 6 2021 COVID-19 report

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Just over one year ago, on January 25, 2020, the first COVID-19 case in Canada was reported. It has been a hard year for all Canadians, but especially for residents in long term care, their loved ones, and their nursing and support care staff. They have had no relief from suffering and hardship for a full year! Also, heart-wrenching have been the experiences and death for persons in ICU, away from their loved ones. We salute the heroic work of RNs, NPs, physicians, RTs and others who in these settings have tried so hard to save lives and sustain humanity under the most difficult circumstances. Indeed, health professionals in all sectors have and continue to give it their all – and remain dedicated to providing care despite the unimaginable challenges.