Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Key Messages:

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is primarily transmitted via exhaled respiratory droplets and particles that are propelled into the air after an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes.
  • COVID-19 can cause illness ranging from a very mild, cold-like illness to severe infections. Presentations may be atypical, especially in older persons, children, and people living with a developmental disability.
  • It is important to note that people with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic while infected and transmission can still occur when infected people are asymptomatic or prior to developing symptoms.
Introduction

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is highly contagious and spreads more easily among those who are not vaccinated and/or have not been previously infected. Vaccination can help prevent the development of severe illness, among those who are vaccinated.

COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms similar to a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill.

Some people, including those with minor or no symptoms may develop Post-COVID Conditions – also known as “Long COVID.”

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Local Epidemiology

For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation and epidemiological data please visit:

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Signs and symptoms

COVID-19 can cause illness ranging from a very mild, cold-like illness to a severe infection. Presentations may be atypical, especially in older persons, children and people living with a developmental disability. People with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic while infected; transmission can still occur when people are asymptomatic or prior to developing symptoms.

Refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 signs, symptoms and severity of disease: a clinician’s guide, for a full list of symptoms.

With ongoing community spread, please consider COVID-19 as a potential diagnosis for all patients presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory infection, regardless of their travel or contact history. 

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Diagnosis and laboratory testing

Clinicians play a vital role in helping patients navigate current testing resources, supporting patients after testing or providing testing in their own clinical setting as long as IPAC measures are followed. Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the Ontario College of Family Physicians have resources on COVID-19 IPAC measures.

Testing

The Ministry of Health provides testing guidance and eligibility criteria for PCR testing, including for specific settings and populations.

Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 (even if mild)  and are at higher risk of severe COVID‑19 and may be eligible for antivirals, are advised to seek testing (rapid antigen testing or PCR) and care immediately.

Please continue to use your clinical judgement during patient assessment and test facilitation, considering local epidemiology and exposure risks. When transmission is high in the community, it is prudent to assume that any COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of severity or known exposure, are indicative of COVID-19.

Patients can be directed to our public-facing COVID-19 Testing and Care Information page for information on when to seek testing, eligibility, as well as how to access testing in Ottawa.

Testing of Health Care Workers (HCW)

Please refer to Ministry of Health’s Appendix 1: Case Definitions and Disease-Specific Information - Disease: Diseases caused by a novel coronavirus, including Coronavirus Disease 2019 for testing and isolation expectations, setting specific guidance, or refer to guidance from your employer, if applicable.

Serology testing for COVID-19

There are limited clinical scenarios for which serology testing may be appropriate for diagnostic purposes, such as when assessing symptoms compatible with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). For additional information, please refer to: Public Health Ontario Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Serology. To date no studies have identified an immune marker that represents an absolute correlate of protection against SARS-CoV-2-infection (i.e., prevents an infection at a certain threshold), so serology is not useful in determining someone’s protection against future infection.

Rapid Antigen Testing:

  • Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT):  A positive rapid antigen test is highly indicative that a symptomatic individual has COVID-19. Therefore, individuals with a positive result on a rapid antigen test do not require a confirmatory PCR test in most settings and are managed as a case of COVID-19. These results are not reportable to public health.
    • Testing individuals with COVID-19 symptoms
    • Individuals with symptoms may undergo rapid antigen testing if it is available to them. Molecular tests are preferred for some populations, such as symptomatic patients in hospital and for residents in highest risk settings, such as long-term care homes.
    • A positive rapid antigen test is highly indicative that a symptomatic individual has COVID-19. They are managed as a case and recommended to self-isolate.
    • A single negative RAT does not rule out COVID-19, and these tests may be falsely negative, especially early in illness.
    • Two consecutive negative RATs, separated by 24-48hours, means COVID-19 infection is less likely. The individual isstill recommended to self-isolate until they are afebrile, and symptoms have improved for 24 hours (or 48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms). 

Management of staff returning to work in highest risk settings:   

  • Individuals should follow any workplace guidance (as applicable) for return to work.  Individuals returning to work in highest risk settings (e.g., acute care, long-term care homes, etc.) should follow any relevant workplace guidance on return to work. In general, return to work in highest risk settings after self-isolating as above, may occur while following measures to reduce the risk of transmission for 10 days after symptom onset/positive test date, including:
    • Avoiding caring for patients/residents at highest risk of severe COVID-19 infection, where possible
    • Ensuring well-fitting source control masking (e.g., a well-fitting medical mask or fit or non-fit tested N95 respirator or KN95)
    • Reviewing PPE and IPAC practices, where possible
    • Taking unmasked breaks in a separate breakroom, or with physical distancing, to avoid exposing coworkers
    • Working on a single ward or area of the setting as much as possible
    • Working in a single facility, as much as possible

Asymptomatic testing

  • Non-routine, or ‘one-off’, testing is not recommended, as there are important limitations of the tests. Further consideration for the use of Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs) in this context are provided in the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance (PDF).
  • With the lower rates of COVID-19, high vaccination rates, and demand for rapid antigen test (RAT) kits consistently decreasing, the province will be winding down its RAT programs starting June 30, 2023, which, includes no longer distributing kits to retail locations like. Rapid antigen tests can be accessed through OPH, in particular for people who may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment
  • Local health partners and community agencies will be able to order provincial Rapid Antigen Test kits through OPH, while provincial supplies last.

Testing for COVID-19 in your office

There are additional resources to support seeing symptomatic patients in clinic, including offering testing, Ottawa Public Health’s IPAC resources and information and from Public Health OntarioOntario Health and from the Ontario College of Family Physicians. COVID-19 testing must  comply with provincial eligibility criteria in all settings.

Note that if you are collecting specimens that are part of a COVID-19 outbreak in a facility (e.g., long-term care or retirement home), please ensure that the outbreak number is included on the requisition, as per the PHO Respiratory Outbreak Testing Prioritization Protocol (PDF).

Results 

It is the responsibility of the ordering physician or health care professional to communicate test results to their patients.

Patients can check their COVID-19 PCR test result the following ways if they have a valid Ontario photo health card:

For information on isolation and supports for people who are tested for COVID-19, please see the Management section.

COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centres

Many local assessment centres have now closed. PCR testing and access to antiviral therapy is available through many local pharmacies, visit the province's website for more information. Details on how to access COVID-19 testing are also available on OPH’s testing page.

Self-isolation for Individuals with symptoms of respiratory illness or testing positive for COVID-19:

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Management

Notification and management of high-risk contacts

Individuals should inform others of their exposure.

Individuals who test positive or who have symptoms of COVID-19 should notify their household members and similar close contacts that they are ill and refer them to the OPH Isolation Instructions for COVID-19 webpage.

A close contact is anyone an individual was less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without measures such as masking, distancing, and/or the use of personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before symptoms began or a positive test result, whichever came first.

For more information please see guidance from the Ministry of Health

Pharmaceutical Therapies

Please note that OPH does not coordinate access to pharmaceutical treatments for individuals with COVID-19. Provincially, pharmacotherapies are coordinated through Ontario Health. The Ministry of Health provides information for patients on testing and antiviral eligibility and access. The Ministry of Health provides information for patients on testing and antiviral eligibility and access.  Ontario Health provides recommendation on the use of Paxlovid.

Additional resources:

The eHealth Centre of Excellence  digitized Paxlovid prescription form (updated to reflect the expanded access for Paxlovid in the following EMRs: TELUS PSS, OSCAR and QHR Accuro)

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Immunization

Who can receive the vaccine

Vaccinated in the past for COVID-19

A dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine formulation (XBB. 1.5-containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccine) is recommended this fall for everyone 6 months of age and older if it has been 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine or known COVID-19 infection. Getting a dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine is very important for people who are at risk of getting very sick from the COVID-19 virus such as people 65 years and older, people who are pregnant and people living in long-term care homes, retirement homes, for example.

  • Previously vaccinated for those 5 years and older:
    • Anyone having received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Previously vaccinated for those 6 months to 4 years:
    • Anyone having received either 2 doses of a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or 3 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine prior.
  • For those 6 months to under 5 years of age who have started but not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series:
    • Their COVID-19 vaccines series can be completed with the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
    • These children should wait 8 weeks (56 days) after COVID-19 infection symptom onset or after testing positive (if no symptoms were experienced) before their COVID-19 dose.

For certain people with weakened immune systems, talk with your health care provider about your risks and benefits of getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine at a shorter interval between 3 to 6 months.

While it is recommended to receive a dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, people may choose to receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that was approved last fall. People who choose to receive a dose of one of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines approved last fall should speak with their health care provider about what is best for them.

Note: The XBB.1.5-containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are available in all OPH clinics that provide COVID-19 vaccines. The bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is only available at certain OPH clinics for individuals 5 years and older who choose not to receive the updated XBB.1.5-containing formulation.

Vaccinated if immunocompromised

People 6 months or older who have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised), because of a medical condition or medication they take, are strongly recommended to receive a dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine formulation for the fall (XBB. 1.5-containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccine).

  • Vaccinated in the past:
    • Get a dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine if it has been six months since your previous COVID-19 dose or infection (which-ever is later).

 A shorter interval (three to six months) may be considered based on age and risk. Talk to your health care provider about the best option for you.

  • Not vaccinated in the past or who have been recommended by their health care provider to restart the vaccination series.
    • 6 months to 4 years old: get 3 to 4 doses (product specific) of the updated COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks apart; if they have had a recent COVID-19 infection they should wait 4 to 8 weeks (28 to 56 days) after symptom onset or after testing positive (if no symptoms were experienced) before their COVID-19 doses.
    • 5 years and older: get 1 dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine; if they have had a recent COVID-19 infection they should wait 4 to 8 weeks (28 to 56 days after symptom onset or after testing positive (if no symptoms were experienced) before their COVID-19 dose. 

It is important to speak with your health care provider about the timing for you to have the best possible immune response from the vaccine and minimize delays in your treatment. Let the provider giving you the COVID-19 immunization know that you are immunocompromised.

Not vaccinated in the past

People 6 months and older who have not been previously vaccinated are recommended to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine formulation (XBB. 1.5-containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccine) this fall for protection against COVID-19 infection if it has been 8 weeks (56 days) since their last COVID-19 infection symptom onset or after testing positive (if no symptoms were experienced).

  • 6 months to 4 years old – get 2 to 3 doses (product specific) of the updated COVID-19 vaccines; eight weeks apart
  • 5 years and older – get one dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine.

While it is recommended to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine, people may choose to receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that was approved last fall. People who choose to receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines approved last fall should speak with their health care provider about what is best for them.

Note: The XBB.1.5-containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are available in all OPH clinics that provide COVID-19 vaccines. The bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is only available at certain OPH clinics for individuals 5 years and older who choose not to receive the updated XBB.1.5-containing formulation.

Bivalent mRNA Vaccine

While it is recommended to receive the updated XBB.1.5-containing mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, people may choose to receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that was approved last fall. People who choose to receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine approved last fall should speak with their health care provider about what is best for them. 

The bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is only available at the Greenboro Library Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hub for individuals 5 years and older who choose not to receive the updated XBB.1.5-containing formulation. The Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine is the only bivalent vaccine available in our clinics. Be sure to check the Greenboro schedule on the  Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs website for clinic hours and location in advance of your visit.

Novavax vaccine

Ottawa Public Health will begin offering the updated XBB 1.5-containing Novavax COVID-19 vaccine on January 4, 2024.

 

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines remain the recommended vaccines because of the protection they provide and well-known safety profiles. The updated XBB 1.5-containing Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people 12 years of age and older who:

  • Are not able to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine due to a contraindication (for example, because of an allergy), or
  • Who choose not to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Visit our frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination web page to learn more about the Novavax (Nuvaxovid) COVID-19 vaccine.

Booking an appointment

Novavax appointments can only be booked through the Ottawa Public Health booking page. Use this online form to register for Novavax COVID-19 vaccination.

For booking information at all other clinics, visit our Where to get vaccinated section.

 Vaccine(s) received outside of Ontario

Everyone 6 months and older, who have been vaccinated with one or more non-Health Canada approved vaccine(s), are recommended to get a dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine if it has been 6 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

For more information, visit our frequently asked questions on vaccines received outside of Canada, Ontario or Ottawa, or through a federal program. More information is also available in the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance.  

Where to get vaccinated

Ottawa Public Health offers COVID-19 vaccination through local community clinics, neighbourhood health and wellness hubs and pop-up clinics. Please note that masks are required at all Ottawa Public Health vaccination clinics. Find below, more information about each type of Ottawa Public Health clinic.

Community clinics

COVID-19 vaccination is available at community clinics for eligible clients six months and older.

Residents are encouraged to book an appointment. Walk-ins will be accepted as capacity allows. You can use the online provincial booking system or call the Provincial booking system at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007) to schedule an appointment at your local community clinic. The vaccination clinic locations in Ottawa were selected with accessibility being the main consideration.

Book a vaccine

If you require disability-related accommodations, please fill out this COVID-19 Vaccine Accessibility Assessment form at least 48 hours before your appointment (please indicate the time and date of your appointment). With less than 48 hours, Ottawa Public Health will strive to meet all accommodation needs, however, may not be able meet all requirements. Should you need assistance in completing the accommodation request form, please contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-691-5505.

LocationDetailsHours of operation

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School

1515 Tenth Line Road

New Clinic dates:

  • Friday, February 23: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Monday, February 26: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Friday, March 1: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Tuesday, March 5: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Friday, March 8: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Tuesday, March 12: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Wednesday, March 13: 12:45 to 7:10 pm

J.H Putman School

 

2051 Bel-Air Drive

New Clinic dates:

  • Thursday, February 22: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Tuesday, February 27: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Thursday, February 29: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Monday, March 4: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Thursday, March 7: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Monday, March 11: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Thursday, March 14: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm
  • Friday, March 15: 9:45 am to 4:10 pm

Tony Graham Recreation Complex – Kanata

100 Charlie Rogers Place

New Clinic dates:

  • Wednesday, February 28: 12:45 to 7:10 pm
  • Wednesday, March 6: 12:45 to 7:10 pm

Changing or cancelling a vaccine appointment

If you booked your appointment with WabanoAkausivika pharmacy, a hospital or at Switch Health, please contact them directly to make any changes.

If you booked an appointment through the provincial online vaccine booking system, you can reschedule or cancel it online or by calling 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). You will need your:

  • health card (information on front and back)
  • postal code
Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs

In collaboration with city and community partners, Ottawa Public Health offers free drop-in services to all residents of Ottawa at our accessible Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs. COVID-19 vaccination is available at select locations. Come speak to Ottawa Public Health and City of Ottawa staff.

View the locations and hours of the Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs.

Other places in Ottawa offer COVID-19 vaccination such as select pharmacies, First Nations, Inuit and Métis clinics, the Kids Come First Health Team vaccination clinics, and Switch Health clinics. Find below, more information about other places that offer COVID-19 vaccination.

Select Pharmacies

Select pharmacy locations offer COVID-19 vaccination. Pharmacy locations are separate from Ottawa Public Health’s vaccination roll-out. You can find a list of all pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccines, including which vaccines are offered, hours, locations and how to book an appointment online.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis clinics

The Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team and Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health offer COVID-19 vaccination. Please see the table below for location, hours, eligibility and booking information.

LocationDetails

Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team

24 Selkirk Street, Suite 300

Hours of operation: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 10:15 am to 4:30 pm

Eligibility: Inuit community members (ages six months and older) and staff from Indigenous community agencies

Access: Call 613-740-0999 to book an appointment Monday to Friday 10:30 am to 4:30 pm

Winter Break – modified hours as of December 19: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 11 am to 3 pm

 

Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health Neighbourhood Vaccination Hub

 

299 Montreal Road

 

Hours of operation: Thursday 10 am to 4 pm

Eligibility: First Nations, Inuit and Métis community members and their non-Indigenous household members

Access: Please book an appointment.

Changing or cancelling a vaccine appointment

If you booked your appointment with WabanoAkausivika pharmacy, a hospital or at Switch Health, please contact them directly to make any changes.

 

Supporting your patients to get vaccinated

For more information on vaccine clinics in Ottawa, including where your patients can get vaccinated, patients can visit our public COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.
 
Resources for patient counselling for the COVID-19 vaccines are available from the Centre of Effective Practice.
Additionally, The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has developed a resource titled the COVID-19 Vaccination Tool Kit for Health Care Providers. This toolkit provides health care professionals with evidence-informed resources to support informed choices and constructive dialogue with patients about COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada.

Even if your patient decides not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please continue to recommend they stay up to date with other vaccinations, including vaccination against influenza.

Medical Exemptions from Vaccination

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided guidance to assist health care professionals to determine if their patient has a contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination that qualifies for a medical exemption. See Table 1 in the  linked Ministry of Health guidance document (PDF).

As per provincial guidance, in many instances, safe administration of subsequent doses of COVID-19 vaccine is possible under the management of an appropriate physician or nurse practitioner. True medical exemptions are expected to be infrequent and should be supported by expert consultation.

Health care professionals can access the medical exemption form here:   Statement of Medical Exemption – COVID-19 Vaccine Immunization form (PDF)

Contraindications to Vaccination

If a patient has a history of severe immediate allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to the vaccine or any of the vaccine ingredients, health care practitioners are encouraged to refer patients to an allergist prior to administration of COVID-19 vaccine.

People who experienced a severe immediate allergic reaction after a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine can safely receive future doses of the same or another mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after consulting with an allergist/immunologist or another appropriate physician. For more information, please consult the Ontario Ministry of Health’s  COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance.

Report an Adverse Event Following Immunization

Under the  Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario, all healthcare professionals are required to report Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) to local public health units. If you see a patient with symptoms that could possibly be related to a recent vaccination, you as the healthcare professional are required to  report the AEFI. Submitting a report doesn’t mean that the vaccine caused the event, but this is a critical component of monitoring the safety of all vaccines.

In addition to  AEFIs, health care professionals are asked to report  Adverse Events of Special Interest (PDF) for COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance. AEFIs and AESIs are reportable to the  health unit of the patient’s residence. The  reporting form (PDF) can be submitted by fax to OPH at 613-580-9660 or through our  online form. If you are unsure, please be proactive and report.

Become a Vaccine Provider

Primary care providers in Ottawa are invited to administer COVID-19 vaccines in their offices. Please contact COVID Vaccine Partners at  covidvaccinepartners@ottawa.ca for more information. To order Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, complete the  Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 vaccine order form.

Physician Billing

The Ontario Medical Association has outlined  information pertaining to billing for COVID-19 vaccination (PDF). The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care also publishes  OHIP bulletins to update on billing concerns, which include COVID-19. Physicians can also check the  OMA portal for updates. Questions regarding submission of billing codes can be directed to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Service Support Contact Centre at  SSContactCentre.MOH@ontario.ca.

Resources for Healthcare professionals


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Prevention
Infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures protect healthcare professionals, staff, and patients from the spread of disease, including COVID-19. A risk assessment of your clinic and exam rooms prior to any interaction with patients will help to determine which IPAC measures are needed, depending on the specific setting and procedures being performed. The resources below may assist as you implement appropriate IPAC measures within your practice.

Public Health Ontario: IPAC Recommendations for use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 (PDF).
  • Incorporates evidence to date on modes of transmission, effectiveness of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare workers (HCWs) and the undetermined impact of the emergence of variants and their lineages. Recommendations will be updated as needed based on emerging information.

Recommendations in the guidance include:

  • The recommended PPE when providing direct care for patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19 includes a fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator (or equivalent or greater protection), eye protection, gown, and gloves. Other appropriate PPE includes a well-fitted medical (surgical/procedure) mask, or non-fit tested respirator, eye protection, gown and gloves for direct care of patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Fit tested N95 respirators (or equivalent) should be used with all other recommended personal protective equipment when aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMPs) are performed or anticipated to be performed on patients with suspect or confirmed COVID 19.

Preparing your office

The Hierarchy of Controls is an occupational health and safety framework for controlling hazards in the environment. The controls at the top of the hierarchy inverted triangle are the most effective measures, with personal protective equipment (PPE) being the least effective measure of control. All the levels of the framework are important, as they create many layers of protection. This framework can help to structure the approach to COVID-19 IPAC in a clinical setting:



Photo: The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety

Elimination and substitution 

This layer of IPAC protection prevents people with COVID-19 from coming into the setting without knowledge of the health care professional, through active and passive screening. 

  • Screening
    • Screen staff and patients before they enter the clinic.
    • Seat patients who screen positive apart from other patients and have them wear as medical mask as tolerated. Patients who are symptomatic for COVID-19 must wear a medical mask.
  • Resources

Engineering controls

COVID-19 can be spread by people with asymptomatic infections. Ventilation, physical barriers, and re-designed work areas to facilitate physical distancing can help decrease the risk of COVID-19 spreading from an infectious person.

  • Physical Distancing: Try to maximize distance and minimize contact and encourage patients and visitors to wear a mask.
  • Cleaning and disinfection: All shared items and spaces must be properly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
    • Environmental cleaning: Ensure daily environmental cleaning takes place in all common areas, including patient areas, staff areas, and shared spaces such as lunch/break rooms.
    • Shared items or devices: Clean and disinfect shared items or devices (e.g., blood pressure cuff) between patients using a hospital-grade cleaning product.
    • Clinical office/waiting rooms: Clean and disinfect surfaces in the clinical office and waiting rooms immediately when they are visibly soiled with blood or other body fluids, excretions, or secretions (e.g., examination tables, floors, toilets).
  • Hand hygiene: Ensure hand hygiene supplies are available to health care professionals and patients. Hand hygiene supplies must be present in all areas where patient care occurs (e.g., hand hygiene sink or alcohol-based hand rub). 
  • Ventilation: Review the HVAC systems and ensure they are in compliance with applicable regulations related to the facility type (see resources)
  • Resources:

Administrative controls

Administrative controls include IPAC policies and procedures, healthy workplace policies, education and training, as well as signage. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

  • Universal Masking: Encourage all patients and visitors to wear a mask as tolerated and provide masks if needed. Offices may establish a masking policy for staff, patients, and other visitors when in the office.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Appropriate PPE can protect a worker in conjunction with the other control measures. A Point of Care Risk Assessment helps determine if additional protection is needed beyond universal masking: 
    • Recommended PPE when providing direct care for patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19:
      • Fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirator (or equivalent or greater protection), eye protection, gown, and gloves.
      • Other alternate appropriate PPE includes a well-fitted medical mask (surgical/procedure), or non-fit tested respirator, eye protection, gown, and gloves for direct care of patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19
      • Wear a fit tested N95 mask when there are concerns about possible aerosol generation. Examples of aerosol generating procedures (AGP) can be found in the PHO Technical Briefing on Recommended use of PPE.
      • Ensure proper hand hygiene when donning and doffing any PPE. 

Resources

For more information on Infection Prevention and Control, please see our page Infection Prevention and Control Resources for Healthcare Professionals

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Public Health Role
  • Using the Health Protection and Promotion Act, S.O. 2007, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) takes actions to protect the public and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
  • We collaborate with provincial and national public health partners, as well as local hospitals and community agencies, to conduct surveillance and assess the risk level in our community.  We also work with partners to coordinate the response to outbreaks and make recommendations based on the local situation.
  • All COVID-19 positive PCR lab results are shared with OPH by our lab partners and followed up as appropriate. Please note that Rapid Antigen Test results are not reportable.
  • All deaths related to COVID-19 are reportable to OPH. Please see the LaboratoryTesting  web page for more details.

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Patient resources

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Physician Resources

COVID-19 guidance documents

  • The Ministry of Health’s Health Sector Resources
  • Public Health Ontario also has many useful resources for physicians and primary care providers including research syntheses, information on variants of concern and Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) resources in relation to COVID-19

Testing

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Contact us:

Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm: Call 613-580-2424, extension 24224, select your language of choice by pressing 1 or 2 and then leave a detailed, confidential message including your contact information.

After hours, on weekends, or holidays: Call 3-1-1 and ask to speak to Public Health on call. To have your call prioritized as a health care professional, please identify yourself and your reason for calling; your call will be prioritized for answer.

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