​Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to let you know that Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care was with us this morning at Toronto Western Hospital to announce a number of things about the Province's response to Ebola. We have copied the points in bold below which were in the Ministry's media release.

As you will see, University Health Network's Toronto Western Hospital has been designated as one of the 10 hospitals in the Province which would be responsible for caring for someone who has been diagnosed with Ebola. This is not a surprise, as TWH has been working for some time to ensure that we are capable of caring for a repatriated Canadian healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola and this is one further step which recognizes that a number of hospitals may see a confirmed case and would need to be ready to provide care. We will be working very closely with St. Michael's Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences and the Hospital for Sick Children to ensure that our staff feel secure, protected, trained and supported.

UHN is now in the process of putting together 3.000 kits of Personal Protective Equipment to ensure that they are ready in the areas which have the highest likelihood of seeing suspected Ebola or confirmed Ebola cases. This morning the Minister spoke of the need to have two nurses for each Ebola patient so that staff can watch each other as they don and doff their protective equipment. We have been training in this way with staff for some time and we will be offering more training and more practice sessions so that staff feel comfortable in their technique. We continue to welcome and value any suggestions from staff as you train and practice. Questions and may be addressed to: 

EbolaQuestions@UHN.ca

We will be working with the teams to respond to all questions and our plan is to post the questions and answers on the IPAC site.  We will continue to update you with information and hope that you will work with your managers and educators so that we know your needs and can address them. It would be helpful for everyone to know that the staff most likely to encounter someone with a suspected case are the staff in the Emergency Departments and that is where we have started our training. We have also been working with the staff in the ICU at the Western as a confirmed case of Ebola would receive care on that unit.

And, as a reminder our PPE includes N-95 masks with faces shields and goggles under the shield; 2 pairs of gloves (a third pair is optional), 2 head covers (one bonnet and a surgical hood to cover the neck front and back), booties, full body protection (level 4 surgical gown, disposable plastic apron and boot covers to under the knee). All PPE is disposable. The training is about putting on and removing all of this equipment without cross-contamination (inverting all materials so that nothing external touches the staff member's body). We will provide staff with as much training and practice as they need to feel confident in this process.  We are also planning for screening in the high risk outpatient clinics, starting with the tropical diseases unit, immunodeficiency clinic, tuberculosis clinic, family health team and hemodialysis units. The Medical Officer of Health will be issuing a directive about PPE today and we are are confident that we will meet all parts of this directive because everyone feels safe and secure in their practice.

Kathy Sabo                         Susy Hota                            Jeff Singh


From the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care's media release:

  • Asking Ontario's Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health to issue a directive to hospitals and other acute care settings about new personal protective equipment and training requirements as well as enhanced procedures for containing and treating Ebola.

  • Designating Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Hamilton Health Sciences, Health Sciences North, Hospital for Sick Children, Kingston General Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, The Ottawa Hospital, St. Michael's Hospital, Sunnybrook Hospital, and University Health Network's Toronto Western Hospital as the referral hospitals to treat potential cases of Ebola.

  • Enhancing the province's inventory and availability of personal protective equipment, including ensuring the availability of N95 protective respirators.

  • Testing Ebola specimens at Public Health Ontario's provincial labs starting on Monday October 20, 2014.

  • Creating a formal Minister's Advisory Table on Ebola Preparedness which will include frontline workers and health care providers, and which will meet regularly to provide ongoing advice to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

  • Creating an Ebola Command Table which will be chaired by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and which will include the Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Deputy Minister, Public Health Ontario, the Ministry of Labour and other partner ministries and representatives from the province's LHINs and designated referral hospitals, among others.

  • Assigning appropriately outfitted ambulances to transport potential cases of Ebola to the designated hospitals for treatment.

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