COVID-19 GGH Update April 21

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Action/must read (3)
What’s New? (2)
Resources and Supplies (1)
Staff Support (2)
Policy Changes (0)
Notes & Comments (0)

Starting with the positive

The card says, “Made with love from the Guelph Mask Kit Squad and Friends.”
The sewers in our community (and beyond!) have been hard at work. Over the last two weeks, we have received more than 4,000 masks! These are been distributed to patients, mostly as they are discharged (both inpatient and ED) and to visitors. We are going to see how our supply lasts – we hope we will be able to offer for staff to use outside the hospital. A handout is going with each mask, with important messaging about usage, including a reminder to maintain physical distancing and donning/doffing instructions.

Just a reminder it’s free Tim’s Day for staff with their first name starting with the letters L-O.


Reporting on COVID-19 activity in staff and patients

Total number of staff tested to date212
Total number of staff with a positive test result to date28
Total number of staff with a negative test result to date175
Total number of results pending9
Number of current in-patients who have tested positive8
# staff who tested positive and are now recovered16

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Action/Must read

Please do not bring in your own PPE
For weeks now, we have heard of the concerning shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the province, the country and indeed across the world. In response to this, the Hospital has put in place a number of measures to ensure we have a sufficient supply of PPE, including N95s, and full and half face respirators, face shields, gowns etc. This includes the conservation methods we have put in place for PPE including; doing a thorough point-of-care risk assessment (PCRA), utilizing N95s and full and half face respirators for only those procedures where it is necessary, and following new guidelines for use and extended use of PPE.  If we keep up with our conservation methods, we currently have an adequate supply of PPE, including our N95s.  

Over the last few weeks we have seen and heard that a number of staff and professional staff are bringing in their own PPE (including N95s and full and half face respirators). With appreciation that staff may be bringing in their own equipment as a way of helping us conserve our existing equipment or because it feels safer to have their own equipment, this practice cannot be approved at this time. Unfortunately, using externally provided PPE puts the staff, our patients and each other at risk as we can not verify this equipment is safe or ensure that staff are properly fitted to the equipment. The hospital has an obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide staff with safe and appropriate equipment, and we can’t meet that obligation when staff start bringing in their own PPE.

At this time, staff and professional staff who bring in their own equipment will be asked not to use it. The hospital is proactively working on a number of strategies to address the  shortages of PPE, including taking Ontario Health’s direction to store used PPE for potential reprocessing and sterilization and working with the province to source alternative supplies.  

We still need our scrubs and gowns back!!
Each week during the past four weeks, 1,000 pieces of scrubs and gowns have gone missing. For the 14 months prior to that, our weekly loss averaged 67. As a result, we now have a critical shortage. Scrubs need to be returned so that we don’t run out. This loss of scrubs has already resulted in some department not having enough. Until all scrubs are returned and laundered, staff who wear scrubs are advised to bring a uniform with them to work as a back up in case there are no scrubs available when they arrive at work.

Proper exiting of the building
During the day, our Emergency Department entrance is to be used by ED staff and its patients only. It is available to all staff only during after-hours. This keeps the area from becoming overcrowded which undermines physical distancing. During the day, it is not to be used as an exit and entrance for those going outside for a short period such as to smoke or for a walk. In those cases, please exit by other doors and re-enter the building through the main entrance only. We all need to do our part to help control the spread of COVID-19.

What’s new?

Looking to see if any staff are interested in volunteering to work for a time at Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes
On April 17, Ontario Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care requested Ontario hospitals to support our long-term care and retirement home partners. A recommended approach was for hospitals to mobilize staff who might be interested in volunteering to work temporarily, on a secondment basis, to provide support to a long-term care and/or retirement home provider.

The secondment would be an extension of your employment with the hospital, on a time-limited basis and subject to the operational needs of the hospital.  Staff who volunteer for this would continue to be paid by the hospital. Further, the volunteer arrangement would be for a specific duration to a long-term care and/or retirement home, in order to provide them with some necessary interim stability and for infection prevention and control purposes. During the time of secondment, staff would not work at the hospital.

Please note when the period of secondment is over, a volunteer seconded to a long-term care or retirement home site in an outbreak would be able to return and self monitor for symptoms.

If you are interested to volunteer, please contact Human Resources, Alison Adamson, email, or extension 2809 and provide your name, department, occupation and contact information.

Thank you for your consideration in assisting our long-term care partners.

GGH now using the non-test-based approach with our Return to Work process
Just a reminder that there  has been a change in how we clear staff to return to work after they have tested positive. This return process is guided by documents from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit and Ontario Health,

Basically, there are two ways a worker can return to work:
The test-based approach
The employee has two consecutive NP swabs, collected at least 24 hours apart, that are both negative for COVID-19
The non-test-based approach:
·      14 days have passed since the onset of the first symptom
·      The individual is not fevered
·      The individual’s symptoms are improving

Guelph General Hospital is using the non-test-based approach in clearing employees to return to work. As a reminder, employees need to contact Employee Health Services prior to returning to work to be cleared.

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Resources and Supplies

Process for locating surgical/procedure masks

Who does it affect? 
Any staff entering clinical areas as a surgical/procedural mask is required to enter the unit.

What is changing?
Clean surgical masks will be available at the nursing station/designated area in a bright orange box for ward clerks, nurses, physicians and unit attendants. If you need a new mask during your shift, retrieve it from the orange box. Do not store open mask boxes on isolation carts or in the clean utility room. Stores will deliver surgical masks to your area on a schedule determined by your Director.

All other staff (eg. social work, rehab, housekeeping, portering, dietary, etc.): Masks will now be delivered to your area on a schedule determined by your Director. Please only use masks from your department stock and not go to a nursing unit to obtain a mask. Follow direction from your department when you need a new mask.

If your mask becomes soiled during a care procedure, you will obtain a new surgical mask from the unit stock.

If additional surgical masks are required, please refer to process on the side of the box and contact your Director Monday to Friday and the Director on call for evening/weekend support.

Why are we doing this? 
To support PPE conservation and to ensure all staff who need a mask can access it.

Staff Support

COVID-19 Staff Feedback – it’s survey time!
We want to hear from you about how well we are doing with supporting you through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share your thoughts, comments and ideas with us. The survey is anonymous and short so we hope you will respond. Click here to complete the survey today! If you have any questions about the survey, please email

Loblaws now letting healthcare workers to jump to the front of the line
Loblaws/Zehrs/No Frills/Shoppers Drug Mart is now providing priority access for healthcare workers in almost all its locations throughout the day. By showing your healthcare ID, you will get priority entrance to its supermarkets and drugstores.

Policy Changes

Notes & Comments

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