April 9, 2020 - Dr. Archer's Update on COVID-19 response from the DOM and Medicine Program
All updates that are being provided can now be found on line: Visit our DOM site (click here)
COVID-19 Update: Things are very stable in Kingston and our incidence curve has flattened. There are no new cases in the past 3 days. There are 54 people with COVID-19 infection today in our region (the one new case was a person repatriated to our area). There are 3 patients with COVID-19 infection are currently admitted to KGH, 1 on Medicine’s COVID-19 unit (awaiting discharge) and 2 more are in the ICU. The peak in COVID-19 infections for Ontario will likely occur next week. The highest prevalence of infection continues to be Toronto, with half of Ontario’s cases. There is a second peak of COVID-19 in Ottawa. We have a week supply of PPE (donations, pandemic supply and some safe but beyond expiration date masks). A note about the masks that are 4 months beyond expiration (which was Dec 2019). The supplier has provided us with information showing these masks are safe. Our supply was properly stored and we have checked the elastic straps and confirmed that as the manufacture states, they are safe to use! The recycled masks are not being reintroduced into use but are being stockpiled in case they are needed. So please keep on recycling.
Policy regarding PPE: Once again in combination the low prevalence and the limited supply of PPE continue to support the safety and wisdom of the hospital’s current decision not to deploy universal PPE throughout the hospital. We are not in the situation being experienced in Toronto or Ottawa, and fortunately are nowhere near the magnitude of problem being face by colleagues in New York City or Italy.
Easter advice: Please fight the urge to socialize on this Easter weekend. Our low local prevalence is a function of our active programs of physical distancing; don’t give the virus a break…stay home! This is a bad time to visit Toronto or Ottawa. Stay home and be safe (and don’t bring COVID-19 back to Kingston).
Planning for a field hospital (meaning a new, off-site, location for patient care): We have been instructed by Ontario Health to open a field hospital. This is out of an abundance of caution and hopefully we will not need this capacity. This capacity building does not mean we will actually be opening such a facility. Indeed we would only open it after we saturate the many beds available in the hospital. The most likely scenario in which we would need a field hospital would be emergence of COVID-19 in vulnerable populations, such as in nursing homes or amongst incarcerated persons.
Who do you want to be during the pandemic? During the COVID-19 era, communication is key. We have launched a weekly ZOOM meeting for all Dept members, a weekly ZOOM leadership meeting for our Divisional Chairs, resumed our weekly Medial Grand Rounds on ZOOM and begun this daily newsletter. The goals of all this communication are to educate, reassure and retain contact between our huge group of friends and colleagues. I didn’t create the nice graphic below but it addresses a key reality-you can’t control the epidemic but you can control how you respond to it! We each have a choice in answering the question, “Who will I be during this epidemic?”. I urge you to think about this and choose the Growth Zone. Be in the present, thinking of others, empathetic, adaptable and cheerful. Leave the deep blue fear zone and join me in the baby blue orbital…it’s a good place to be! I hope the DOM is part of your support network and has become a trusted source for information in troubled times. You can now find the archives of all COVID-newsletters on the DOM website (click here).
Here is a look more global look at the pandemic today. America is clearly the global hotspot!
There are currently 19,290 cases and 435 deaths related to COVID-19 in Canada (click link for daily update)
See KGH capacity on today’s graphic indicator below. Here is the capacity in KGH today. We have lots of room to deal with COVID-19 cases should they emerge (fortunately they have not occurred in large numbers so far).
Clarification on PPE supply: At KHSC we are conserving PPE because of a global shortage. Our policies are to conserve so that we can ensure you have PPE when you need it. We also safely recycle PPE, as discussed in prior updates. Please help with this. For any who doubt there is a PPE shortage, here are the results of a survey by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). This was a survey of PPE stores in American Hospitals in March 2020 (courtesy of Dr. Evans Medical Grand Rounds this am). Please note how many items were in short supply (gray, yellow) or were gone (blue), and that was in March! So when we ask you to be rational in your use of PPE, in light of the low disease prevalence and the short supply of PPE, we are reflecting reality.
Today’s Random Act of Kindness: DAFT Brewing made a substantial donation of hand sanitizer to the DOM. They make two of the precious comforts during this pandemic…and one of them is hand sanitizer #TGIF.
Read more about: Adam, Shan, Sergio and Greg from DAFT Brewing who started the company
Stay well and TGIF (almost)