Ontario Increases Capacity Of Public Health Units To Stop COVID-19
TORONTO – To support the tremendous efforts of public health units to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ontario is taking new steps to redirect existing resources to focus directly on fighting this new virus while allowing public health units to significantly increase their capacity.
Ontario has launched a new user-friendly online portal for the public to easily access COVID-19 lab test results. By providing faster and more secure access to test results on their computer or mobile device, this portal will help ease the pressure on public health units and front-line workers to provide this information so that they can better focus on the containment of COVID-19.
“With this new portal, patients will be able to access test results more quickly from the security of their homes,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health. “This will help reduce the burden on our public health units and front-line health workers, allowing them to focus their efforts where they are most needed during these difficult times.” “
Ontario is also issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Emergency Preparedness Act, effective immediately, to provide public health units with the authority and flexibility they need to make staffing decisions that support their ongoing fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, despite all collective agreements. As a result, public health units will be able to significantly expand their capacity to implement essential public health functions, such as case and contact management, through the use of volunteers, including the thousands retired nurses and medical students who registered through the province’s website.
This latest order will support the recommendation made by Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, to all public health units to implement more aggressive contact tracing and management in response to increased community transmission. Provincial medical officers of health are also encouraged to use their power under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to isolate COVID-19 cases and contacts.
“We are at a critical time in our fight against COVID-19,” said Elliott. “Our success as a province depends on our ability to quickly and effectively stop the spread of this new virus. These actions provide tremendous support to our local health units and give them the authority they need to act and contain COVID-19 in our communities. “
- Patients will be asked to verify their identity with the information on their photo health card. The portal will provide patients with the results of their tests and provide advice on next steps.
- On March 30, 2020, Dr. Williams released a statement to strongly encourage Ontarians to stay at home, limit the number of essential trips and respect physical distance.
- If you think you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, start by self-isolating and then use the Ontario Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need additional care.
- Follow these daily steps to reduce COVID-19 exposure and protect your health:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Sneeze and cough up your sleeve;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
- Avoid contact with sick people; and
- Stay home if you are sick.