TORONTO — Ontario is taking further action to protect frontline nurses and to recognize their clinical training and experience to help to keep Ontarians and hospitals safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The province, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and in consultation with the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), Ontario Health and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), is issuing a directive on health and safety standards for frontline nurses in hospitals in order to prevent exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. These standards have been developed with the guidance of clinically trained frontline nurses, hospital leaders and public health experts.
“It is critical that we are protecting our frontline nurses who are fighting to protect us from COVID-19 every day,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are collaborating with our partners in the health system to implement this new directive to ensure that nurses have the protection they need to safely provide the best care for their patients.”
This directive outlines:
Precautions for interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including relying on the clinical education and training that nurses receive to use their professional and clinical judgement;
Point-of-care risk assessments for every patient interaction to assess appropriate health and safety measures; and
Training on safe use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).
The directive also addresses the ongoing stewardship and conservation of the current level of PPE supplies as the government aggressively pursues all available efforts to increase this supply to ensure the appropriate health and safety control measures are in place to mitigate the transmission of infections. A joint statement from the province, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the ONA can be found here.
As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the province is investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to frontline staff.
A new website, Ontario Together, will help the government partner with Ontario’s manufacturing sector to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and redirect resources towards the production of essential equipment such as ventilators, masks and swabs.
Everyone in Ontario should stay home unless absolutely necessary and practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of your immediate families.
If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.