Health Professionals Talking

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) –
Health Professionals

Last updated: 3:20 p.m. ET., March 31, 2020

Situation Report for Health Care Providers
(This report is updated daily Monday – Friday, by noon)

In addition to the information below, please also refer to the general COVID-19 information webpage and information for workplaces.

This information may change frequently, please check back often for updates.

Current Case Definition for COVID-19 (as of March 13)

Cleaning for COVID-19 is the same for other contact/droplet viruses, like influenza.  Additional precautions being recommended do include airborne precautions, however this is out of an abundance of caution.

The Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee on Infection Prevention and Control (PIDAC) has provided best practices for infection prevention and control in clinical office settings (pg. 29-31), as well as best practices for environmental cleaning . (pg. 107)

Guidance documents and signage have been produced for the health sectors listed below related to COVID-19. These documents currently refer to the previous case definition.

These guidance documents are still valid, but please refer to the new case definition listed above.

Guidance for Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting
Guidance for Acute Care
Guidance for Home and Community Care Providers
Guidance for Long-Term Care
Guidance for Paramedic Services
Guidance for Independent Health Facilities
Guidance for Laboratories
Guidance for Pharmacies
Guidance for Occupational Health and Safety

Click here to access these resources.

The Ministry of Health can be contacted through the Health Care Provider Hotline for policy guidance related to COVID-19 at 1-866-212-2272.

For the most up-to-date information for COVID-19 guidance in Long-Term Care, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website

Additional Information:

Long Term Care Home Memo- 2020/03/10

Signage for Long-Term Care- English

Signage for Long-Term Care - French

For Retirement Residences (as of March 22/20):  In accordance with O. Reg 68/20 made under the Retirement Homes Act, retirement homes must take all reasonable steps to follow the required precautions and procedures outlined in LTC Directives.  Please see CMOH Directive #3 for details.

Refer to Public Health Ontario for information on the COVID-19 lab requisition, specimen collection and handling and turnaround time.

Telehealth will screen these calls in accordance with the Provincial case definition, and if there are individuals who meet the case definition they will refer them to the Emergency Department (ED). These individuals are provided guidance on how to reduce the risk of transmission while travelling to, and arrival at the hospital. Telehealth will provide the ED with information prior to the individual’s arrival so that the appropriate precautions are used.

Asymptomatic individuals who call Telehealth are provided education as to symptoms and what to do should they develop respiratory illness.

The Ministry of Health can be contacted through the Health Care Provider Hotline for policy guidance related to COVID-19 at 1-866-212-2272

Managing Health Worker Illness and Return to Work COVID-19

March 19, 2020

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario today issued the following recommendation to all parts of the health sector (including health care workers, health system organizations and employers):

Travel and Return to Work

  • Cease all non-essential business and employee travel outside of Canada until further notice
  • All health care workers who have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days (since March 2, 2020), should self-isolate for a period of 14 days, starting from their arrival in Ontario
  • Health care works should not attend work if they are sick
  • For workers who are deemed critical to continued operations:
    • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for 14 days
    • Undertake active self-monitoring, including taking their temperature twice daily to monitor for fever
    • Undergo regular screening
    • Immediately self-isolate if symptoms develop
    • Self-identify to their occupational health and safety department

Practice Social Distancing and Facilitate Virtual Arrangements

  • Everyone in Ontario should be practicing social distancing of 2 meters to reduce their exposure to other people. Employers should facilitate arrangements to ensure that this is practiced in the workplace to every extent possible.
  • Where there may be an opportunity, employers should enable appropriate employees to work from home or to work virtually, if not re-deployable.
  • Health system employers should consider a review of how they can provide services to patient groups virtually or remotely.

Ongoing Screening, Self-Monitoring and Self-Isolation

  • Recommendations and tools to specific sectors for both active and passive screening are available on the ministry’s COVID-19 website.
  • The goal of screening programs should be to ensure that no person with clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19, enters the building – except where they are identified and being clinically assessed by an appropriate provider.
  • Each workplace should have a comprehensive strategy for screening and symptom monitoring where there are inpatients, residential or institutional settings, and tailor their approach to screening to their unique setting. Screening should be focused on patients/residents, volunteers, visitors and staff, and should be done over the phone, upon arrival, at entrances and on a regular basis throughout the day.
  • All health care providers and health care workplaces should monitor for signs of illness. Employees should diligently monitor themselves for signs of illness over the course of the pandemic and identify themselves to their manager and/or occupational health and safety departments if they feel unwell. If a health worker begins to feel unwell while at work, they should immediately don a surgical mask and notify their manager and/or occupational health and safety department.
  • Public Health Ontario has excellent fact sheets on how to self-monitor and self-isolate.

Multiple Locations

  • Health workers who work in multiple locations should identify themselves to their managers and develop an individualized plan to manage their employment across these settings over the course of the pandemic. In some high-risk settings, it may be possible to coordinate arrangements for staff to only work in one institution.

Guidance Document for Mulitple Locations workers

Continuity of Operations and Curtailing Non-Essential Services

  • All health sector organizations should have a Continuity of Operations plan to redeploy resources, whether human resources, equipment or space, to protect critical services. This may include cross training, cross credentialing or formal redeployment to different functions. As part of these plans, organizations should also have minimum thresholds of staffing in place to ensure that critical services continue to operate.
  • Employees with comorbidities should also identify themselves to their employers and consider ways to redeploy away from duties associated with COVID-19.

Return to Work after Illness

  • Health workers should consult their local public health unit and their manager/occupational health and safety department to plan their safe return to work.


MEMO Managing Health Worker Illness and Return to Work COVID-19 – CMOH

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada issued a committee opinion regarding COVID-19 during pregnancy. Information can be found on their website.

Statement from the World Health Organization- March 18, 2020

At present, based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen.  They are consulting with physicians treating COVID-19 patients and are not aware of reports of any negative effects of ibuprofen, beyond the usual side effects that limit its use in certain populations.  WHO is not aware of published clinical or population-based data on this topic