COVID-19 Letter

March 17, 2020

 

To our valued patients and families,

 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, your healthcare team at STAR Family Health Team wanted to reach out and offer support during this uncertain time. This is a VERY SERIOUS, and rapidly evolving situation and Public Health recommendations are changing daily, sometimes hourly, so we encourage you to access our federal and local Public Health websites for the most up-to-date information:

 

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

https://www.hpph.ca/en/news/coronavirus-covid19-update.aspx

 

At STAR Family Health Team, our goal is to minimize potential exposure to as many people as possible, while freeing up resources to attend to those who require urgent care. In order to do this, we will be making changes to the way we deliver your care.

 

Starting immediately, we will attempt to avoid booking routine and non-urgent appointments (including routine physicals, pap tests, visits for insurance purposes, and visits for other non-urgent issues). If you are able to delay your elective appointments, we urge you to do so. If you have an appointment scheduled currently, you may be contacted to suggest deferring if deemed appropriate by your healthcare provider.

 

We are reviewing our schedules and incoming appointments. Those that can be accomplished safely by telephone or a virtual visit will be booked as such. Those visits that are of a more urgent nature and require an in-person visit, will still be offered this option. If you are advised to visit our office, we ask that you come alone or with one support person only in order to limit the number of people in our waiting room.

 

Family Health Team groups are cancelled until further notice. If you are enrolled in a group, you will be contacted by our team with this information.

 

 

** IN ORDER TO HELP REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS - WE ASK FOR YOUR HELP **

 

Important signage is posted at each of our clinics. We ask everyone to be careful to read any posted signs and notices, and to follow them carefully.

 

If you are feeling unwell with any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose or diarrhea OR have travelled outside of Canada OR have had contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada, we ask that you STAY HOME, and call your Family Physician’s Office, your local Public Health Unit or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) for further direction.

 

** PLEASE DO NOT VISIT OUR OFFICE WITHOUT INSTRUCTION **

 

We expect a high volume of phone calls to our office, so please have patience while waiting to speak with our staff.

 

We ask that you do not attend the EMERGENCY ROOM unless you feel very unwell, are directed to by your healthcare provider, or it is a clear EMERGENCY.

 

A new screening tool is available to review your symptoms and potential risks and get quick advice on whether to self-monitor, self-isolate or seek medical attention on the Government of Canada website:

 

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment

 

Testing requirements/guidelines for COVID-19 are changing daily, and most people suspected of having the virus will not be tested. Our office does not have the appropriate protective equipment to test for the virus, so we are not offering testing. Most testing is being reserved for individuals sick enough to warrant being admitted to hospital, healthcare workers, and those in retirement or nursing home settings.

 

In regards to your greater social obligations, even if you are feeling well, we urge you to:

  • STAY HOME as much as possible,
  • Avoid all non-essential travel,
  • WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer,
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your arm,
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands,
  • Clean highly used surfaces frequently with regular household cleaner.

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this evolving situation. We are all working hard to keep you, your families, our staff and our community safe and healthy.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Your Healthcare Team at STAR Family Health Team