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IN THE NEWS
Co-led by St. Michael’s Dr. Matthew Muller, a new study aims to examine adverse reactions to COVID-19 shots to become the largest vaccine safety study in Canadian history (Featured in The Globe and Mail)
St. Michael’s provides advice in favour of centralized leadership and collaborative efforts to keep people experiencing homelessness safe during the second wave of COVID-19 (featured by the Ontario Health Association)
St. Michael’s Dr. Larissa Matukas confirms that our lab is surpassing the provincial goal of testing turnaround times for COVID-19, by completing 100% of new tests within 48 hours (featured in The Globe and Mail)
Is COVID-19 becoming less deadly in Canada? St. Michael's Dr. Amol Verma shares his thoughts in support of available treatments, early recognition and quality care towards patients (featured in The Globe and Mail)
Our Dr. John Marshall has co-authored an analysis of seven international trials. Findings suggest an inexpensive, widely available class of drug reduces death risk by 20% among critically ill COVID-19 patients.
A study led by St. Michael’s Dr. Peter Jüni suggests that while COVID-19 does not appear to be linked to local temperature variations, it might eventually become seasonal as the virus and the human population interact with each other (featured in Healthy Debate)
Dr. Prabhat Jha, Director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St Michael’s Hospital, discusses how contact tracing apps work, what you need to know about them and answers questions (featured on CBC radio)
St. Michael’s Emergency physician Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak explains the phenomenon of “alarm fatigue” which could be to blame for the public’s perception that the risk of getting COVID-19 is lower (featured on CBC Radio)
Michelle O’Connor, the clinical leader manager of obstetrics, gynecology and the neonatal intensive-care unit at St. Michael’s Hospital explains protocols for pregnant patients (featured in Globe&Mail)
Dr. Andrew Pinto, Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital explains why collecting data on social determinants of health, such as race, is important as we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic (featured in the Globe and Mail)
A study led by St. Michael’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Jonathon Maguire and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is trying to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and their families
Dr. Irfan Dhalla wrote about a new report from Australia’s leading universities which defines two distinct goals that every country must choose between in deciding how to tackle COVID-19 (featured in the Globe and Mail)
Dr. Peter Juni, an epidemiologist at St. Michael’s, says summer’s heat won’t slow COVID-19 the way it slows influenza because we don’t have partial immunity to the new virus (featured in the Toronto Star)
Dr. Michelle Sholzberg, a hematologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, is leading a study on the efficacy of commonly used blood thinners to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (featured in the National Post)
Dr. Darrell Tan, infectious disease physician and scientist at MAP Centre for Urban Solutions is leading a clinical trial to find out if a treatment that shows promise in its “cousin viruses” will impact COVID-19
PODCASTS: FACTS FROM THE FRONTLINES
Over the coming weeks, Dr. Bob Howard, Former President and CEO, St. Michael’s Hospital, will interview world-class health experts to keep you and your loved ones informed and up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 developments and what St. Michael’s is doing to address the pandemic. Read a recap of episodes.
Featuring: Dr. Ripudaman S. Minhas, Developmental Paediatrician, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sabina Vohra-Miller, Co-Founder, Vohra Miller Foundation and Founder, Unambiguous Science and Dr. Seema Marwaha, Internal Medicine Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital
Sabina Vohra-Miller, pediatrician Dr. Ripu Minhas, and physician Dr. Seema Marwaha talk about the risks and realities of everything from COVID in schools to vaccines for kids. A list of helpful mental health resources for kids and their parents is included as a bonus to this episode in the FAQ tab.
Featuring: Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Matthew Muller, Infectious disease specialist and medical director of infection prevention and control at St. Michael’s Hospital, fills us in on the different COVID-19 vaccines, when they’ll arrive, who will get them and whether we still need to wear our masks.
Featuring: Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, St. Michael’s Hospital
In the latest installment of St. Michael’s Facts from the Frontlines podcast series, hosted by Dr. Bob Howard, Dr. Matthew Muller, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at St. Michael’s Hospital, tells us what to expect in the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s optimistic that we’ll get a vaccine, but likely not see it until next year. Opening schools will increase risk, so maintaining social distancing and increasing testing and contact tracing will be crucial. The good news is that St. Michael’s is ready, with stockpiled PPE and new training and protocols informed by what we’ve learned during the pandemic.
Featuring: Sonya Canzian, Executive Vice-President of Clinical Programs, and Chief Nursing and Health Professions Officer, Unity Health Toronto
Sonya Canzian talks about St. Michael’s plan to gradually reintroduce medical services in the hospital, using an equitable framework to ensure all patients receive timely care, and how the hospital will deal with the “new normal” of enhanced safety measures, virtual care and shared resources.
Featuring: Dr, Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Matthew Muller discusses the latest discoveries around COVID-19, including the risk of complications due to age, sex and certain medical conditions, how singing, yelling and talking spread the virus, and why he suggests outdoor rather than indoor activities, wearing masks but not gloves, and staying out of planes and restaurants for now.
Featuring: Dr. Eliane Shore, Obstetrician Gynecologist at St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s obstetrician gynecologist Dr. Eliane Shore explains how St. Michael’s OB teams protect pregnant moms from COVID-19 before, during and after delivery. New moms can follow the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide on Instagram to get advice from St. Mike’s pregnancy and labour experts.
Featuring: Dr. James Maskalyk, Emergency Room Physician
St. Michael’s Emergency physician Dr. James Maskalyk worked on the frontlines of epidemics in Ethiopia and Sudan. In this episode, he tells us what it’s like to battle COVID-19 at St. Michael’s, from comforting patients despite masks and isolation to using meditation and meaningful action to help himself cope with stress.
Featuring: Dr. Ori Rotstein, VP of Research and Innovation at Unity Health Toronto and the Keenan Chair in Research Leadership at St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Ori Rotstein, VP of Research and Innovation at Unity Health Toronto and the Keenan Chair in Research Leadership at St. Michael’s Hospital, explains how St. Michael’s is positioning itself as an international research force in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
Featuring: Fergus Cubbage, RN, Medical Surgical Intensive Care, St. Michael's Hospital
Fergus Cubbage, who has 15 years of nursing experience at St. Michael’s Hospital, tells us how he and his colleagues are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shares a typical day in the ICU, which includes protocols for donning and doffing their PPE, and ends with an uplifting story about all the support nurses have received from hospital leadership, colleagues and the St. Michael’s community.
Featuring: Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection, Prevention and Control, St. Michael's Hospital
We talk about COVID-19 overwhelming the health-care system. After all for every 100 new cases, 10-20 people will be hospitalized, and half of those will end up in the ICU. But, as Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control, who has been on the frontlines of pandemic preparedness at St. Michael’s, explains, in comparison to some other countries, Canada is better off because we’ve have more time to prepare. Still, he cautions, that doesn’t mean we can relax physical distancing measures. In this episode, Dr. Muller also sheds light on diagnostic testing and where we are in vaccine development.
Featuring: Dr. Stephen Hwang, Director, MAP Centre for UrbanHealth Solutions, St. Michael's Hospital
The closure of the community centres and meal programs and the restrictions around maintaining physical distance are compounding the stresses on people who are homeless. The cost of doing nothing about homelessness and accepting the status quo has never been more starkly apparent. Will COVID-19 force us to change how we deal with this pressing issue? Dr. Stephen Hwang, Medical Director of MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, talks about the challenges and what St. Michael’s scientists are doing to end chronic homelessness.
Featuring: Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of Family Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital
Linda Jackson, Senior Clinical Program Director for Primary and Community Care, St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Linda Jackson, Senior Clinical Program Director for Primary and Community Care, talk about how family practice is changing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the hospital’s six family health team clinics are protecting patients, health-care providers and the community by conducting patient visits by phone or video conferencing wherever possible.
Featuring: Dr. Arthur Slutsky, Former Vice-President of Research, St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Art Slutsky, one of the world’s leading experts on mechanical ventilation and acute respiratory distress syndrome, explains what ventilators do and why they’re essential to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients.
Featuring: Dr. Joel Lockwood, Emergency Physician and Trauma Team Leader, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Paul Das, Family Medicine Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Paul Das, a family physician, and Dr. Joel Lockwood, an emergency physician and trauma team leader, share what it took to get the Assessment Centre up and running, how it works, who should go and when you should go directly to emergency instead.
Featuring: Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital
This week, Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine, talks about how life and procedures have changed in one of the country’s busiest emergency departments to get ready for the influx of COVID-19 cases, and the unsung heroes who are on the frontlines and behind of the scenes at St. Michael’s.
Featuring: Dr. Tom Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital
This week, Dr. Tom Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, talks about how to maintain good mental health during a pandemic and what to do if you’re not coping. He also reminds us of the importance of “social connection” in an age of “physical (not social) distancing.”
#THANKS4STMIKES Montage Two
Founder, Toronto Bike Brigade
Have your kids or grandkids create a card with a message of thanks that can be given to a hospital worker! They can decorate it any way they like. We will pass the cards on to those staff who have done something above and beyond in their relentless efforts to keep our community safe. To get involved, contact Fiona MacAlpine at MacAlpineF@smh.ca.
Coronaviruses are viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some spread easily between people, others don’t. On Dec. 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus referred to as COVID-19 through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
The disease can pass from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth that are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around them. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
If you have symptoms or are worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to take the Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to determine if you need to visit an assessment centre or self-isolate at home.
St. Michael’s Hospital has opened an Assessment Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at 38 Shuter St. to provide screening and assessment for our community. It is equipped with proper precautions such as hand hygiene stations and isolated spaces for those being assessed for COVID-19.
If you have relevant risk factors, your care team will wear protective equipment and place you in a room separate from other patients. After a careful review, a decision will be made as to whether you need testing, where this should be done, and whether you need to go to the emergency department or be admitted to hospital. Patients with very mild symptoms may be sent home with instructions to isolate at home while awaiting test results and will be followed by public health. For more information about assessment, go to Unity Health Toronto’s information page.
To reduce exposure and transmission, you should:
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- cover your cough with a tissue or sneeze in your elbow
- frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces
- self-isolate for at least 14 days after travelling outside the country
As a reminder, if you are concerned about your symptoms and/or worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to connect with Toronto Public Health and your primary health care providers close to home; this will help keep our Emergency Department resources available for trauma and emergent care patients.
You can call Toronto Public Health’s Hotline at 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, call 311 and ask for Toronto Public Health.
For Families Who Need Immediate Support
CAMH’s Mood and Anxiety Service offers assessment and treatment for children and youth aged 6 to 18 years of age (and their parents/caregivers) experiencing mood or anxiety difficulties, with a physician referral. Young clients are typically experiencing worry, phobias, emotions, sadness or a sense of hopelessness. Parents and caregivers can attend psychological education groups to better understand mood and anxiety difficulties in children and youth and better support and advocate for their children.
MENTAL HEALTH T.O. connects children (from infant to 18-years-old) and their parents and caregivers with the mental health resources they need quickly. The service can provide you with a therapist for a phone or online video session via the What’s Up Walk-In network for a telephone or video session. If you are looking for services beyond a single session, the service will connect you to the closest and most appropriate child and youth mental health center in your community.
The Family Care Centre by Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) offers peer-to-peer support groups for families experiencing challenges with mental health. The organization also advocates for mental health support for children, empowering families so their voices are heard and recognized as experts.
Reach Out Centre for Kids is a youth mental health Lead Agency co-ordinating mental health programs and services for both young people and their families in Halton. They help link young clients and their parents and caregivers with support for a range of challenges including mood and anxiety challenges, eating disorders, trauma and more.
For Background Reading on Children's Mental Health
Children’s Mental Health Ontario offers background information on common mental health disorders affecting youth, in a variety of languages.
Caring for Kids provides parents with information about their child’s and teen’s health and well-being. Because the site is developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society — the voice of more than 3,300 Canadian pediatricians — you can be sure the information is reliable.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use The Ontario Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.