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Good morning, TeamUHN!

It is a pleasure to connect with you across care, research, and education through this weekly CEO update – all in service of A Healthier World.

Key reminders and updates

  • Welcome back from the Thanksgiving long weekend. Thank you to those who were working in service of patients and colleagues – and thanks to everyone else for limiting in-person gathering.
  • Tomorrow on Oct. 14 – Join our next Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.: Submit questions here or use #UHNCOVID-19x29 on Slido.com. Livestream link here (Chrome/Firefox only).  
  • We just launched UHN's 2020 Flu Campaign – get your flu vaccine between Oct.13 to Nov. 6. To support physical distancing, we will be offering flu vaccines using a slightly different approach this year. In addition to flu carts coming to your department, you can also schedule an appointment to get a flu vaccine with Occupational Health. Learn more via UHN News.
  • Working from home during Wave 2 – reminder about UHN's approach: As we did in Wave 1, we remain open to members of TeamUHN working from home if they can do so without compromising their responsibility to patients and colleagues. This must be discussed and agreed upon by your manager – and you must be available throughout work hours and return to work in the hospital if it becomes necessary.

Overview of last week 

1. Ontario recently updated its COVID-19 Clearance Guidance – including moving to a 10-day clearance period for the majority of cases

  • Background: Ontario's Ministry of Health updated their guidance document addressing decision-making on testing and clearing people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19: "COVID-19 Quick Reference Public Health Guidance on Testing and Clearance."
  • What happened last week? The guidance document was updated on Oct. 1. Significant changes include moving to a 10-day clearance period for the majority of cases – the criteria being mild to moderate illness and no severely compromised immune system, and demonstration of significant clinical improvement prior to clearance. The clearance period was previously 14 days for these cases. More severe cases and those who are immunocompromised require a longer isolation period.
  • What do I need to know? The change to a 10-day clearance period (for most cases) was made based on new evidence. This reduced clearance period is welcome news. On Oct. 8, we recorded 117 staff members off due to COVID-related reasons. The 10-day clearance period means that people can come back to work sooner and help relieve the burden on our clinical teams. It also means that some patients with COVID-19 infection will be isolated for a slightly shorter time. For guidance on TeamUHN reassessments, please continue to work with Occupational Health. For guidance on patient reassessment, please work with IPAC (Infection Prevention & Control).

2. UHN's Executive Leadership Forum is huddling twice a week to discuss COVID-19 

  • Background: UHN's Executive Leadership Forum typically meets twice a month. Given the concerns around Wave 2, they have decided to huddle twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday morning to stay on top of the evolving situation.
  • What happened last week? The members of ELF huddled and discussed various COVID-related pressure points including: Current state of COVID-19, staffing, redeployment, long-term care and beyond. They also discussed updates from Ontario Health and the Toronto Region and how their updated directives may impact UHN.
  • What do I need to know? While we are all concerned about the increasing number of cases, we have reason to be optimistic – and that reason is TeamUHN. In Wave 1, we saw many colleagues step up and offer their services, including the 6B Surgical Oncology team at Toronto General who volunteered to help care for patients with COVID, as well as the 8B Toronto Western and 6ES Toronto General GIM (General Internal Medicine) teams who were the first units at each acute site to house COVID patients. These are just some of the many remarkable examples we continue to see, not only with hospitalized COVID-19 patients – but also with our screeners, those who were redeployed to long-term care, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Safety Coaches and beyond. I believe it is this strong sense of teamwork and generosity of spirit that will get us through Wave 2.

Closing notes

  • Clinical learner placements – guidelines are now available for maintaining hospital-education activities during Wave 2: Read the guidelines here developed by TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Science Network) and the Toronto COVID-19 Hospital Education Table. If you have questions, please contact Mandy Lowe (Senior Director, Clinical Education – mandy.lowe@uhn.ca).
  • UHN adjusted access for Essential Care Partners to all hospital sites – effective Oct. 9. This is due to the increase in community spread of COVID-19 and Toronto Public Health's withdrawal from contact tracing. These changes were made in alignment with the Toronto Regional Table and peer hospitals. Learn more about what this means here. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness page > Patient Information > Materials for Communication with Patients and Visitors > Staff Tip Sheet: Essential Care Partners Visiting UHN during COVID-19 (Phase 2A)).
  • International Day of Older Persons was observed on Oct. 1. UHN is deeply committed to the well-being of seniors and older persons and working hard to support a seniors friendly organization – as well as supporting long-term care facilities during COVID-19.

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,

Kevin 


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