Response to COVID-19
Home / Response to COVID-19

07/09/2021 – Guidance for patients seeking a medical exemption from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

Occasionally we receive requests for the above. Usually, they are to fulfill an employment obligation or access to public spaces (gyms, theatres, restaurants). You must have a legitimate medical condition that would warrant an exemption.

Generally speaking, there are very few acceptable medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination:

  • A severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of its components that cannot be mitigated. Please note that this must be confirmed by an allergist before a note is written.
  • A diagnosed episode of myocarditis/pericarditis after receipt of an mRNA vaccine.

Given the rarity of these exceptions, and in light of the fact that vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective, any notes written for patients who qualify for a medical exemption need to clearly specify:

  • the reason they cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 , and
  • the effective time period for the medical reason (i.e., permanent or time-limited).

Thank you for limiting your requests to the above situations that we may preserve access to care for all.

ByWard Family Health Team

12/05/2021 – Important Message regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine

Dear Patients,

Following the direction of the province yesterday (May 11), Ontario is immediately pausing administration of the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For those who received their first dose of the AZ vaccine, we understand that there are many questions. Below is what we know now and are working to confirm for you.

  • Why was this change made now?

    There are several reasons for this change:
    • The rates of rare blood clots with this vaccine are rising – the province quoted a 1:60,000 chance.
    • We are starting to see falling rates of COVID-19 infection in the province.
    • There are increasing supplies of other vaccines coming into Ontario.

  • Should I have waited for a different vaccine?

    If you have already been vaccinated, you did the right thing by protecting yourself and others around you. Having a first dose of any vaccine provides significant protection against serious illness and death should you become infected with COVID-19.

    If you received the AZ vaccine within the past 28 days, the chances of serious side effects remain very small – but you should know the signs, as these rare blood clots can be treated if addressed early. Please reach out to our office or seek emergency care if you have the warning symptoms.

  • What about the second doses?

    What this pause means for second doses is not clear at this moment.

    There is a more predictable supply of other vaccines coming and Canada should have information on mixing and matching different vaccine brands in the next 1 or 2 weeks based on a large study being conducted in the United Kingdom: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vaccines-mix-and-match-1.6020986.

  • Where can I get updates?

    We will update you as soon as we have information. You can also check the provincial and our local public health unit website as well. Ontario’s central vaccine management system has a record of when and where you were vaccinated and with which vaccine — so no one will be left behind with a second dose.


  • Please remember – our office is open to you, by phone, by video or in person to answer any vaccination questions. We are here to help keep you safe and get through this pandemic together.

    Sincerely,
    ByWard Family Health Team

     

    20/04/2021 – COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ

  • What are the types of COVID vaccine and how do they work?

    There are currently 4 vaccines against COVID-19 available in Canada made by 4 different companies: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). All the vaccines target the same part of the coronavirus – the spike proteins which are located on the outside of the virus. Once your body makes antibodies against the spike proteins, your immune system can mount a response to keep you safe if you come into contact with the virus.

    Pfizer and Moderna
    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA ,or messenger RNA, provides instructions to the cells in our bodies to build the viral spike proteins. The spike protein attaches to the outside of the cell so the immune system can identify it and make antibodies against it so your body is prepared if you encounter the real COVID-19 infection. The mRNA is then degraded normally in your cells.

    The University of Waterloo Pharmacy School has developed some good resources about mRNA vaccines and some common concerns you may have about them.

    AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
    The AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines are viral vector vaccines. They use a virus that has been modified to be harmless in humans to bring DNA into your cell. This DNAmakes the mRNA which codes for the spike protein through the same process as the mRNA vaccine. After your vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies against the spike proteins without having to be exposed to COVID-19.

    The Centre for Disease Control and the University of Waterloo Pharmacy School have some good resources about viral vector vaccines and some concerns you may have about them.

  • Which vaccine should I get?

    You should get the first vaccine that is offered to you. All the vaccines approved in Canada perform about the same and all will decrease your likelihood of developing severe COVID-19 that requires hospitalization or causes death.

    You may have heard about different vaccines having different efficacy rates. It is very difficult to compare these efficacy rates because there were many variables that changed between clinical trials on the different vaccines. They were done in different populations, in different locations in the world, at different times with different COVID rates and different variants of concern. Dr. Samir Gupta does a great job explaining some of these considerations in more detail in this interview: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1880969283645/

    The significance of efficacy rates and some background behind why it’s difficult to compare them is also explained well here:

  • What are the side effects of the COVID vaccine?

    You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine, but some of the side effects may be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. The most common side effects of all the COVID vaccines are: pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, chills, joint pain, fever, and nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

    You can use cool compresses to help with pain at the injection site, or take Advil or Tylenol for muscle pain, fever, headaches or joint pain unless there is another reason you should not take these medications.
    Side effects from the vaccine may last for a day or two. If you have side effects lasting longer than 48 hours after your injection, contact your primary health provider.

    Rarely, the vaccine may cause a more severe side effect. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following after your COVID vaccine: swelling of your face or mouth, trouble breathing, hives, fever over 40˚C, numbness or pins and needles that does not go away on its own, serious drowsiness or confusion.

    The Pfizer, Moderna, and Astra Zeneca vaccines require 2 doses to be fully effective. Unless you had severe side effects with the first dose, it is recommended you get your second dose with the same vaccine brand. Speak with your primary care provider if you are not sure if you should receive the second dose.

  • Should I be concerned about blood clots with the Astra Zeneca vaccine?

    The Astra Zeneca vaccine has been associated with an increased risk of a very rare type of blood clot called “vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia”, or VIPIT. VIPIT does not occur through the processes that usually cause blood clots, so you are not at increased risk of VIPIT if you have a history of blood clots, have low platelets, are on birth control tablets or blood thinners, or are pregnant.
    All current cases of VIPIT occurred in people between the ages of 20 and 55 and most of the cases were in women. For this reason, NACI (the National Advisory Committee on Immunization) has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine only be used in those aged 55 and over until more information is available.

    VIPIT is very rare. Current estimates range from between 1 in every 125,000 people to 1 in every 1 million people. It is important to keep in mind that getting COVID-19 also increases your risk of blood clots. According to Thrombosis Canada, if you get COVID-19, your chance of getting a blood clot is about 1 in 100. That number increases to 1 in 20 if you require hospitalization and 1 in 5 if you are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The AstraZeneca vaccine greatly reduces your risk of getting COVID and of being hospitalized or admitted to ICU.

    If you start to have any of the following symptoms 4-20 days after vaccination for COVID-19, seek immediate medical attention: persistent and severe headache, vision changes, seizures, chest pain, shortness of breath, skin bruising other than at the site of vaccination, swelling and redness in a limb, or pallor and coolness in limb.
    For more information, Thrombosis Canada has a helpful FAQ: https://thrombosiscanada.ca/wp-uploads/uploads/2021/04/COVID-19-vaccine-and-Thrombosis-FAQs-April-2-2021-Final.pdf and Unambiguous Science has a good summary http://www.unambiguous-science.com/naci-astrazeneca-guidance-suspend-use-in-younger-than-age-55/

  • Does my second dose of the vaccine have to be the same COVID-19 vaccine product as my first dose?

    There is not enough information about how getting a different vaccine product for your second dose (for example, getting the Pfizer vaccine first, then the AstraZeneca vaccine to complete the vaccine series) will affect how well it protects you. NACI (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) recommends getting the same vaccine product for both your doses.

  • Should I get the COVID vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Pregnant women were not part of the clinical trials for the vaccines. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada has stated the vaccine should be offered to pregnant women: “the documented risk of not getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweighs the theorized and undescribed risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding”. Pregnancy is among the “at risk” health conditions listed for priority vaccination in the latest vaccine rollout plan.

    You may be asked to verbally attest that you have discussed the risks and benefits of immunization against COVID-19 with your primary care provider prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
    More information on the COVID vaccine in pregnancy and breastfeeding is available from:

    1. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada: https://sogc.org/common/Uploaded%20files/Covid%20Information/SOGC_Statement_COVID-19_Vaccination_in_Pregnancy.pdf

    2. Unity Health in Toronto: https://www.ontariofamilyphysicians.ca/tools-resources/covid-19-resources/covid-19-vaccines/c19-vax-info-pregnant-breastfeeding.pdf

    3. Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health: https://www.pcmch.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/COVID-19-Vaccine-Infographic-2021_03_08.pdf

  • Should I get the COVID vaccine if I am immunocompromised or have an autoimmune condition?

    NACI (the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations) recommends people who are immunocompromised or have an autoimmune condition discuss whether they should be immunized against COVID-19 with their primary care provider.

    You may be asked to verbally attest that you have discussed the risks and benefits of immunization against COVID-19 with your primary care provider prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccination if you are receiving the following: stem cell therapy, CAR-T therapy, chemotherapy, immune checkpoint inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies (e.g., rituximab) and other targeted agents (e.g., CD4/6 inhibitors, PARP inhibitors).

    You can also check the resources at the end of this FAQ for information on vaccination for people with certain conditions.

  • Should I get the COVID vaccine if I have previously tested positive for COVID-19?

    Yes. Even if you have previously tested positive for COVID-19, you should still get the COVID-19 vaccine. We are not sure how long protection lasts after COVID-19 infection, and you can still be re-infected with the virus.
    The one exception is if you currently have COVID-19 symptoms or are in isolation due to recently testing positive. Wait until your isolation period is over prior to getting the vaccine.

  • Can children get the COVID vaccine?

    Children under the age of 18 (Moderna and AstraZeneca) and under the age of 16 (PfizerBioNTech) were not part of the original clinical trials for the COVID vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may be offered to individuals 12 to 15 years of age who are at very high risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 (e.g., due to a pre-existing medical condition known to be associated with increased risk of hospitalization or mortality) and/or are at increased risk of exposure (e.g., due to living in a congregate care facility). Currently, Moderna is conducting trials in children age six months to 11 years, and Pfizer in children 12 to 15 years old; Johnson & Johnson has said it also plans to test in children.

  • Can I get the COVID vaccine if I have recently received a vaccine against a different disease?

    It is recommended to wait 14 days after any other vaccine in order to receive your COVID-19 vaccination. This is mainly to make it easier to tell which vaccine is causing any side effects, if needed. NACI (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) also recommends waiting for 28 days after getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to get any other vaccinations.

  • Am I eligible to get vaccinated? Where can I get vaccinated?

    Get the latest information on who is eligible for vaccination and who to contact for an appointment at https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/covid-19-vaccine.aspx#eligible

  • Do I need proof of illness to get vaccinated?

    Currently, proof of pre-existing illness is NOT required at time of vaccination. There is no need for a ‘doctor’s note’ to confirm a condition or to confirm you have discussed the risks and benefits with your primary care provider.

  • Does the vaccine stop COVID transmission?

    Although the vaccine will protect you, at this time it hasn’t been proven that getting vaccinated will stop you from carrying the virus and possibly infecting others. In addition, recent research on one population – organ transplant recipients – shows significantly blunted immune response to the first dose of mRNA vaccine, so they may remain at higher early risk for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. Given the current evidence, after vaccination you should continue to follow all public health measures, including physical distancing, wearing a mask and hand hygiene. Socializing with people in other households is still discouraged for now.

  • How long does the COVID vaccine protect me for?

    Because the vaccines are relatively new, we don’t know for sure how long the vaccines are protective and whether/when a booster may be needed. Information is being collected now in real time and research is ongoing to determine how long immunogenicity lasts.

  • Where can I get more information?
  • 01/03/2021 – Vaccination Plan – COVID-19 Update

    We have been informed of the following information from Ottawa Public Health regarding the COVID-19 vaccination plan:

    As of March 1, Ottawa Public Health has started scheduling immunizations for additional eligible residents in Phase 1 priority groups including:

    • Patients who were born in or before 1941, living in neighbourhoods at highest risk of COVID-19.
    • Patients over 18 years old receiving chronic home care, registered with the Champlain LHIN, living in neighbourhoods at highest risk of COVID-19.

    Immunization clinics will be operating by appointment only at 3 locations:

    • Albion Heatherington Community Centre, 1560 Heatherington Road
    • Sawmill Creek Pool and Community Centre, 3380 D’Aoust Avenue
    • Assunnah Muslims Association Community Centre, 1216 Hunt Club Road

    Primary care providers are requested to support Ottawa Public Health in reaching their eligible patients who live in the following neighbourhoods: Emerald Woods, Heatherington, Ledbury, Heron Gate, Ridgemont, Riverview, and Sawmill Creek.

    Please note:

    Eligible patients can book their appointment at 613-691-5505, Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30am to 4pm. Multilingual support is available.

    Comprehensive information about the COVID-19 vaccines, including the vaccine distribution plan and vaccine safety and effectiveness, can be found on the Ottawa Public Health (OPH) COVID-19 Vaccine webpage https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/covid-19-vaccine.aspx#eligible .

    We will update the clinic website with new information but please continue to consult OPH.

    Sincerely,

    ByWard Family Health Team

    22/12/2020 – Message from the ByWard Family Health Team – COVID-19 Update

    Starting Boxing Day, Ottawa and Eastern Ontario communities will be among the Ontario Public Health Regions that will be closed for 28 days.

    Only essential services/businesses will be open for the next 4 weeks.

    Clinic hours of operation will remain the same. Please refer to our newsletter for holiday hours of operation.

    Patient visits will continue both virtually and in person according to your healthcare provider’s instructions.

    Please note that only patients with an appointment will be admitted to our clinic spaces, including our walk-in clinic. Please do not arrive for appointments more than 15 minutes before the scheduled time. If you arrive too early, we ask that you wait in your car and come to your appointment unaccompanied, unless you are with your care-giver. Children should only be accompanied by one parent.

    Please use the Ontario Ministry of Health application or the link https://covid-19.ontario.ca/fr to do your daily COVID test before leaving home, and follow the instructions on the site if you are at risk of COVID infection.

    Thank you for your cooperation during these difficult times.

    University of Ottawa Assessment Centre

    As part of the University of Ottawa’s preparations for the Fall 2020 semester, the university has put in place several measures to ensure that the community can resume its academic and research activities, while respecting public health guidelines.

    As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has set up an assessment centre at the Lees campus (200 Lees Avenue, Block D).

    Who can access it?

    – The Centre is open to university students and staff.

    Appointments can be made :

    – Clients are required to make an appointment online at https://www.uottawa.ca/coronavirus/en/assessment-centre. Please note that this booking platform requires the client to enter their student or employee number.

    The Centre is open by appointment Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and will be closed on all public holidays.

    10/06/2020 – Message from Dr. Danielle Gervais, Medical Director – COVID-19 Update

    Your health is our priority.

    As we work to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually start to resume normal activities, it’s very important to address any health concerns that you may have.  Physical distancing is important but we need to ensure that health issues don’t become bigger issues.  Many of our patients deal with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health, and cancer, or need important vaccinations to protect their health.  If you have any of these conditions, or any health issues in general, it’s important to work with your doctor or nurse practitioner to prevent further complications that could become dangerous or even life-threatening.  Your doctor or nurse practitioner will tell you if they need to see you.

    Feel safe in our space.

    If we need to see you in person, we have new protocols in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff.  Most patient appointments are being held by telephone or through virtual care.  Clinic spaces, surfaces and equipment are washed down and disinfected multiple times a day.  All personnel in the clinic observe strict physical distancing protocols, while also using the required PPE to keep all safe.  Patients, staff and providers are undergoing screening prior to entering clinic spaces.  We ask all patients to wear a cloth mask or face-covering when they come to the clinic to protect themselves and others in keeping with Public Health advice.

    If you have any questions please call us at 613-564-3950 to find out how to get the care you need while keeping everyone safe.

    Best wishes,

    ByWard Family Health Team

    14/05/2020 – Message from Dr. Danielle Gervais, Medical Director – COVID-19 Update

    We are pleased to announce that starting on May 19th we will initiate a progressive reopening of clinic services.  In keeping with guidelines from Ontario Public Health and our provincial government, we’re moving forward with Phase One of our recovery plan. We’re focusing on gradually expanding clinical services while minimizing the risk of transmission through infection control and physical distancing principles.

    Here’s what we are doing:

    • Extending in-person visits beyond the original essential services. This will be a gradual progression over the next few months.
    • Continuing with telephone/secure video for the initial visit – Your physician, NP or other healthcare professional will address your healthcare issue and assess if an in-person visit is required
    • Managing risk through COVID-19 risk assessment – This will be implemented with staff and providers as well as before each visit with patients.
    • Implementing a universal mask policy for all in-person appointments
    • Limiting the number of people coming into the clinic
    • Limiting capacity in our waiting rooms and other clinic spaces to facilitate physical distancing.
    • Rigorously cleaning and disinfecting clinical and public spaces
    • Installing physical barriers in some areas of our clinic
    • Re-activating the fees that were previously suspended, i.e. for missed appointments & for prescription renewal without a (virtual) visit.

    We need your help to expand our services in a safe way.  Here’s what we need you to do:

    • Wear a mask or other face-covering to your in-person visit.  ​If you forget to bring your own mask or face-covering you can purchase a reusable mask on arrival at reception.
    • Come to your appointment alone.  If required, you may be accompanied by one caregiver or one parent where the patient is a minor.
    • Comply with pre-visit COVID-19 screening.  Work with our staff and Public Health screening guidelines to keep our patients, staff and healthcare professionals safe. You will receive instructions when your appointment is confirmed.
    • Cleanse your hands on arrival and after touching common surfaces or using the washroom.
    • Follow signs and direction from our staff regarding room capacity and physical distancing.
    • Don’t wait to address your health issues.  Our clinic remains open and our primary care providers, specialists, and allied health professionals are here to help you.

    We ask for your patience and understanding.  Most appointments will continue to be by telephone or video for the next while. We are not starting to offer routine care at this time. ​​ Though you may prefer to see your physician or other healthcare professional in person, we need to expand in-person visits gradually and responsibly, following available guidelines.

    Please remember – you can continue to access care and services at the clinic:

    • Appointments with Doctors & other Healthcare Professionals – Unless your physician, NP or other healthcare professional contacts you directly, your appointment will be by telephone or video.  You will be called at or as close to your appointment time as possible.  If the healthcare professional determines that you need to be seen in person an appointment will be set up for you.
    • Walk-In Clinic: Telephone Visit First – The Walk-in Clinic is open and maintains regular hours. Call the clinic and book a telephone appointment. If the provider determines that you need to be seen in person we’ll schedule an appointment for you.
    • Prescription Renewals – Please book a telephone appointment with your provider to renew your prescription. If your health is stable and you have no medical concerns, you can also ask your community pharmacist to give you an additional amount.  Please note that fees associated with prescription renewal without a visit have been reinstated.

    27/04/2020 – Message from Dr. Danielle Gervais, Medical Director – COVID-19 Update

    While the Premier of Ontario has yet to announce a date, we are starting to imagine that the current emergency measures will gradually be removed as the COVID-19 health risk starts to decrease and the risk to our compromised economy increases. Transition planning is now underway though it’s too early for specific details. I can say that it will be phased and flexible to better respond to the anticipated fluctuation in infection rates; that the ongoing use of masks will be prominent; and that physical distancing and remote work will continue.

    Direction from Public Health continues to be on controlling the transmission of the virus and so requirements for self-isolation and wearing of masks continues.  Here’s what we will be doing:

    Masks  If you are coming to the clinic for an in-person appointment you must wear your own mask.  Wearing a mask or other face covering plays an important role in protecting others, like covering your cough and maintaining social distancing. Many individuals who come to the clinic are at a higher risk of complications from the virus so it’s important to protect those who are vulnerable. It’s also important to keep our healthcare professionals and staff healthy so they can remain available to provide care and service.  Due to the importance of preserving medical grade masks for appropriate use by health professionals, we are unable to provide masks to our patients.

    Though we mentioned these resources in our last message, we’re repeating them to help you make your own mask or face covering:

    Please note that if you forget to bring your own mask or face covering, you can purchase a reusable mask with filter and neck strap on arrival at reception.  If you present to the clinic without a mask and are unable to purchase a mask your appointment may need to be rescheduled.  For information regarding costs please go to our Fees page https://www.uottawa.ca/health/fees .

    Limiting the number of people coming into the clinic – Social distancing is another important measure to reduce the risk of transmission.  In order to comply with social distancing directives, please come to your appointment alone.  Where required, a patient may be accompanied by 1 caregiver or one parent where the patient is a minor.

    RAMQ patients: Visit Fees – Quebec residents who have had a telephone or video visit at the clinic since March 16, 2020 can expect an invoice via PayPal or by regular mail related to payment of the fee for your recent visit(s).   The reason for the delay was because we had to wait for confirmation from RAMQ for billing of these types of visits.  We will be starting to take payments for virtual visits at the time of booking – please have your credit card information when you call for an appointment.  For information regarding fees please go to our Fees page (equipment) https://www.uottawa.ca/health/fees .

    Outreach Calls in progress – We know that everyone is experiencing challenges.  We have been reaching out to our most vulnerable patients to touch base and see how you’re doing. As you can imagine this is a pretty big task and it will likely take us many weeks to complete.  If you haven’t heard from us don’t hesitate to call us to arrange your next follow-up by telephone.  Please note that some of our staff are working remotely and using their own phone to make the calls. As a result you may not see their caller ID. Please consider enabling calls from blocked IDs.

    Self-Care – Please remember that it’s important to take care of yourself and not put aside health concerns.  Don’t wait to address your health issues.  Our clinic remains open and our primary care providers, specialists, and allied health professionals are here to help you.

    Key information about ongoing access to care and services:

    • Appointments with Doctors & other Healthcare Professionals – Unless your physician, NP or other healthcare professional contacts you directly, your appointment will be by telephone or video.  You will be called at or as close to your appointment time as possible.  If the healthcare professional determines that you need to be seen in person an appointment will be set up for you.
    • Walk-In Clinic: Telephone Visit First – The Walk-in Clinic will remain open and maintain regular hours. Call the clinic and book a telephone appointment. If the provider determines that you need to be seen in person we’ll schedule an appointment for you.
    • Prescription Renewals – If your health is stable and you have no medical concerns, please ask your community pharmacist to give you an additional amount.  If they are unwilling to do that, please ask them to fax a renewal request to the clinic. If you do have medical concerns related to your medication, please book a telephone appointment with your provider.
    • Some resources
    • Mental Health Support

    08/04/2020 – Message from Dr. Danielle Gervais, Medical Director – COVID-19 Update

    It’s almost Easter and the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.  In response to recent changes we have amended some of our clinic practices.

    WHAT’S NEW?

    1. Easter weekend – All clinic locations will be closed.  Walk-in clinic telephone visits are still available between 10am and 2pm April 10, 11, 12 and 13.  You can book a telephone appointment with a walk-in clinic physician by calling the clinic at 613-564-3950.
    2. Masks – We have been, thus far, following Ottawa Public Health guidelines for personal protective equipment. Given the recent evolution of our understanding of how this disease spreads and how patients in our community are getting ill, we are adjusting our practices accordingly.  As per Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Theresa Tam, we are expanding the use of masks to further reduce the spread of the coronavirus.  Specifically, Dr Tam stated that wearing non-medical masks can offer additional protection especially when physical distancing is hard to maintain (e.g. in a grocery store, on the bus).  We are asking all patients who have to come to the clinic to wear their own mask.

    Here are some helpful resources related to masks and how to make them:

    It’s important to remember that the role of non-medical masks is to protect others, like covering your cough. Non-medical masks do not likely have a role to protect yourself therefore physical distancing, washing your hands, reducing trips out of your home remain the most important measures to keep yourself well.

    1. Courtesy Calls – We know that everyone is experiencing challenges.  We will be reaching out to our most vulnerable patients to touch base and see how you’re doing. As you can imagine this is a pretty big task and it will likely take us many weeks to complete.  If you haven’t heard from us don’t hesitate to call us to arrange your next follow-up by telephone.

    Despite the many uncertainties presented by this pandemic we remain focused on our primary goals of ensuring access to primary care for our patients, and keeping our patients, staff and providers safe.  Here’s some key information about ongoing services:

      • Appointments with Doctors & other Healthcare Professionals – Unless your physician, NP or other healthcare professional contacts you directly, your appointment will be by telephone or (coming soon) video.  You will be called at or as close to your appointment time as possible.  If the healthcare professional determines that you need to be seen in person an appointment will be set up for you.
      • Walk-In Clinic: Telephone Visit First – The Walk-in Clinic will remain open and maintain regular hours. Call the clinic and book a telephone appointment. If the provider determines that you need to be seen in person we’ll schedule an appointment for you.
      • Prescription Renewals – If your health is stable and you have no medical concerns, please ask your community pharmacist to give you an additional amount.  If they are unwilling to do that, please ask them to fax a renewal request to the clinic. If you do have medical concerns related to your medication, please book a telephone appointment with your provider.
      • Where to get more information – Consult Ottawa Public Health at www.ottawapublichealth.ca>public-health-0topics>novel-coronavirus

    26/03/2020 – Message from Dr. Danielle Gervais, Medical Director – COVID-19 Update

    I want to provide an update on our clinic processes as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. We have made some significant changes with the goal of ensuring access to care for our patients and keeping our patients, staff and providers safe.

    Appointments with Doctors & other Healthcare Professionals

    • Telephone appointments – Unless your physician, NP or other healthcare professional contacts you directly, your appointment will be by telephone.  You will be called at or as close to your appointment time as possible.  If the healthcare professional determines that you need to be seen in person an appointment will be set up for you.  We are looking to have these visits conducted via a secure video option in the future.

    Walk-In Clinic: Telephone Visit First

    • The Walk-in Clinic will remain open and maintain regular hours.
    • All patients who come to the Walk-In will be advised, with new signage, to call the clinic and book a telephone appointment.
    • During the phone visit, the provider will determine if you need to be seen face-to-face. If so an in-person appointment will be scheduled. We aim to provide these appointments same day, ideally within a very short time period.

    Virtual Visits (Telephone or Video)

    Prescription Renewals

    • If your health is stable and you have no medical concerns, please ask your community pharmacist to give you an additional amount.  If they are unwilling to do that, please ask them to fax a renewal request to the clinic.
    • If you do have medical concerns related to your medication, please book a telephone appointment with your provider.

    Screening

    • Continues at all sites, in person and on the phone.
    • We follow Ottawa Public Health screening guidelines – these change regularly as the situation evolves. Ottawa Public Health knows what they are doing and provide timely updates.
    • Please help us keep everyone safe & comply with required screening.

    When to self-isolate

    • The following should self-isolate
      • Travellers returning from outside Canada need to self-isolate for 14 days.
      • Close contact with a known or possible case
    • Ottawa Public Health offers helpful information on how to self-isolate. Please go to their website for the most up-to-date information.

    Social Distancing

    • Social distancing is an effective way to limit the spread of the COVIC-19 virus.  Here are some helpful tips on how to practice social distancing:
    • Avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential
    • Avoid non-essential trips in the community
    • Keep the windows down if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare
    • Limit or cancel group gatherings
    • Hold virtual meetings
    • Spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 1-2 metre (3-6 feet) distance from each other

    Please note: that these guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!”

    You can still go outside to take a walk, go to the park, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) from those around you.

    Masks/Hand-washing

    • The use of masks and personal protective equipment is not recommended for members of the public who are well.  Masks can provide a false sense of security and must be used and removed properly to provide protection.  Social distancing, frequent hand washing and not touching your face are the most effective ways to reduce risk of transmission.

    Well-being

    • During an infectious disease outbreak, such as COVID-19, you will encounter heightened stress and challenges. Over time, stress, fatigue, worry or anxiety may arise and impact whether you feel your best. This information from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) may be helpful https://www.camh.ca/-/media/files/camh_covid19_infosheet-challenge_worries-pdf.pdf
    • Keep your immune system strong by taking care of yourself.  Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly.  Eat well. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/
    • Maintain healthy habits: wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm; and stay home if you are sick.

    Where to get more information

    Ottawa Public Health https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/novel-coronavirus.aspx#Travel-advice

    14/03/2020 – URGENT Message from Dr. Danielle Gervais, Medical Director – COVID-19 Update

    Dear Patient,

    The 2019 novel coronavirus, now officially designated as the COVID-19, remains a health concern.  There are additional countries that have been identified as currently affected areas.  As this is evolving rapidly, I encourage you to visit Public Health website for the most up to date information.

    According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) as of March 11, 2020 there are 103 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada of which 42 are in Ontario.  1 person has died.  PHAC considers the public health risk associated with COVID-19 to be low for the general population, but there is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians who:

    • are age 65 and over;
    • have compromised immune systems;
    • and/or have underlying medical conditions

    Governments and organizations in many locations are taking preventive measures to promote social distancing as a means of containing the virus.  The goal, at the moment, is to contain the virus and keep our patients, providers and staff safe.  To that end we are taking the following steps in the next week (starting March 16th) or so:

    • We will be converting all family medicine appointments to telephone visits for the next week so unless you receive a message from your primary care provider (MD or NP) before your scheduled appointment, please be prepared to receive a phone call from your MD or NP.  They will do their best to address your issues including prescription renewals, referrals, lab test requisitions, etc.   Your provider may determine during the telephone visit that an in-person visit is required and will book that appointment during the call.
    • All allied health appointments (mental health counsellor, dietician & pharmacist), with the exception of appointments with the chiropodist, will also be converted to telephone visits until further notice.
    • Appointments with our specialists will continue as planned unless you are advised otherwise.
    • If you would like to cancel any non-essential visits please know that, temporarily, we will not be charging any fees for missed appointments.
    • Similarly, no fees will be charged temporarily for prescription renewals from the pharmacy.
    • We will be exploring other ways to provide access to healthcare and will be sharing this information with you in the coming days.
    • Walk-In clinic: if you believe you need our walk-in services, please call ahead as we will be booking these same day appointments on the phone as much as possible. If you present in person to the Walk-in Clinic you will be given an appointment time and asked to come back. This is being done to reduce the amount of time that you have to spend in the clinic and therefore reduce the spread of illness.

    We continue to implement screening and infection control protocols as per Public Health.  We also NEED YOUR HELP.

    BEFORE YOU COME TO THE CLINIC:

    • If your appointment is not urgent, think about re-scheduling it for later this year.
    • If you are running out of medication, please ask the pharmacist to give you an additional amount.  If they are unwilling to do that, please ask them to fax a renewal request to the clinic.
      • If you still need to see a healthcare professional, please call us.
      • If you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, please call the clinic. DO NOT COME BEFORE CALLING
      • If you are sick, stay at home if possible.  Follow the self-isolation guidelines from Public Health.

    IF YOU COME TO THE CLINIC:

    • You will be questioned when you arrive.
    • You will be given a surgical mask if you need one.
    • Try and stay 2m (6ft) away from other people.
    • Do not touch any surfaces.

    GENERAL PRECAUTIONS:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand.  Also, make sure to wash your hands afterward.
    • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick.
    • Get your flu shot if you haven’t already done so.

    If you are planning on travelling over March break, the Government of Canada has posted advice here:  https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

    Please note that at this time PH is now recommending self-quarantine for all persons returning from foreign travel.

    For more information about COVID-19 click on the links below:

    We continue to monitor information and recommendations from Ottawa Public Health & will adjust our practices accordingly.

    Finally, we are unable to provide you with any supplies (e.g. masks, gowns) since our supply is limited.

    I would like to thank you in advance for your patience, support and cooperation in this challenging time.

    COVID-19 Resources & Tools

    update your health info
    Update
    make an appointment
    Request
    Operated by Ontario Partners in Health
    Ontario Partners in Health logo