The provincial government recently announced a change in their response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which includes the lifting of the 5-to-10 day isolation restrictions. The province has also shifted away from using a COVID-19-specific approach to one that focuses on the prevention of all transmissible illnesses (e.g. the flu and the common cold), meaning that the new guidelines apply to all viruses, not just to COVID-19.
Under new guidelines, people should stay home/self-isolate until their symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (48 hours if they have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) and until no fever is present. In addition, they should wear a mask at all times outside of their homes for 10 full days from when their symptoms started and refrain from going into high-risk settings such as hospitals and congregate living facilities during that time.
In light of these changes, the Marathon Family Health Team (MFHT) would like to take this opportunity to explain the approach that our organization will be taking to reduce the spread of infectious disease in our communities and what this will mean for our patients.
Until further notice, the MFHT will continue to screen patients for symptoms that are consistent with transmissible illnesses at the time of appointment booking and upon entry into our facility. If patients are experiencing new or ongoing symptoms of illness, they will be offered a virtual (e.g. phone or video) appointment or an in-person appointment at the Assessment Centre. We will also continue to require patients to wear a mask when presenting for in-person appointments.
Protecting our patients, especially those who are at higher risk of severe illness from infectious diseases, remains a priority. Maintaining the infection prevention and control measures listed above will not impact the quality of the care our patients receive – they will simply help reduce the risk of virus transmission in our facility as we head into the fall and winter months and help prevent patients and visitors from getting sick and having to isolate.
The MFHT is also committed to the health and safety of our physicians and employees. As your primary healthcare team, our job is to provide our communities with consistent and timely access to comprehensive quality health care. But the reality is that healthcare services in our communities can be negatively impacted if too many of our staff and healthcare providers are sick and unable to work.
To help us keep offering primary care services to the best of our ability, we ask for your support. We understand that our approach may be frustrating for some, but we appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we continue to work on finding a reasonable balance between navigating the ongoing pandemic, preventing the spread of illness in our communities and keeping primary care services operating optimally.