At the time of writing this article, it has been 19 days since the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus, now being termed COVID-19, was identified in Toronto, Ontario. Although the Ministry of Health began issuing status updates regarding the virus to local medical officers of health on January 2nd, it was this first presumptive positive case that really brought the virus to the forefront in the province.  As of January 27th, the Ministry of Health began holding daily, sometimes twice daily, teleconferences for healthcare stakeholders in Ontario.  The purpose of these calls is to ensure that the most current developments are being clearly and consistently communicated to the various health care providers across the continuum of care.  The RTSO attends these calls on a daily basis and is working to ensure that any questions asked through our office@rtso.ca are addressed in a timely fashion.

In addition to the daily teleconferences, a Ministry website was established to provide updated information to healthcare providers, and two email addresses were set up to triage questions from the front lines. Email addresses and a specific phone hotline for healthcare stakeholders to ask direct questions to the Ministry of Health were established.  One email address, eoclogistics.moh@ontario.ca is specifically to triage questions regarding personal protective equipment and the ongoing stewardship to ensure that personal protective equipment is readily available to the providers who require it when they require it.  The other email address, eocoperations.moh@ontario.ca, is for any healthcare provider questions not relating to personal protective equipment (PPE).  The phone hotline specifically for Healthcare Providers is 1-866-212-2272.

As representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) enter into China to assist in analyzing the current statistics and situation and we have managed our first seven patients in Canada, our knowledge regarding the coronavirus, now being termed COVID-19, continues to expand.  Resources being created by the Ministry are continuously being updated and refreshed to account for each new piece of the puzzle.  As new information becomes available, the RTSO is working with the CRTO and CSRT to ensure that the information is being disseminated to as many RTs across the country as possible.  The RTSO would like to thank the CSRT and CRTO for their collaboration in sharing resources regarding this emerging virus, as it is important that as new information emerges, the information is readily available to all RTs in a concise and consistent fashion.

The current resources readily available for RTs regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 are as follows:

Ontario Specific Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

CRTO Emergency Preparedness: https://www.crto.on.ca/members/emergency-preparedness/

CRTO Novel Coronavirus Resources: https://www.crto.on.ca/public/respiratory-health-information/2019-ncov/

Ontario Ministry of Health 2019 Novel Coronavirus: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Ontario Ministry of Health Guidance Documents for Healthcare Workers: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx

National Resources:

CSRT Novel Coronavirus Resources: https://www.csrt.com/2020/01/csrt-novel-coronavirus-resources-news/

CSRT Novel Coronavirus Resource List: https://www.csrt.com/csrt-novel-coronavirus-resources/ (this is extremely comprehensive for various aspects regarding the virus and management)

Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals.html

Global Resources:

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses