COVID-19 Updates

Updated April 1, 2021

 

MD Program COVID-19 Update: Province wide Shutdown - April 1, 2021

Dear Meds 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 classes,

Our thanks to all of you for your perseverance and adaptibility as we enter another provincial lockdown.  Earlier today the provincial government announced new restrictions as a result of the surge in COVID cases across the province .   Additionally, this has prompted Western University to take further action.  Dean Yoo has also provided an update to faculty, staff and learners about the new requirements today.

Please review the information below regarding potential impacts to each of your class cohorts and the MD Program.

Meds 2023 and 2024

  • Clinical Skills – Will continue as scheduled
  • Anatomy Labs – More information will be provided early next week regarding any potential impacts to in-person Anatomy Labs
  • OCLOs – Effective April 3rd, 2021 these will be suspended until further notice
  • All virtual learning and assessments will continue as scheduled
  • On-campus clinical assessment/learning will require strict adherence to: Passing Western Pre-screening; Social distancing; Washing; At all times wearing mask and visors to keep all safe.
  • Students who are not in attendance and have had their absence approved according to the Attendance and Absenteeism Policy for these sessions, will complete them following the end of the Academic year, at a time to be determined by the program.

 Meds 2022

  • Clerkship will continue as scheduled

 

Meds 2021

  • The Anatomy Lab elective will be reviewed and any updates will be provided early next week.  There is no impact to any other electives at this time.

 

At this time it is important that you continue to follow all local and Ontario public health guidelines; Western University directives and your Clerkship or Electives Hospital or site guidelines regarding safety protocols related to COVID-19.

 

PREVIOUS UPDATES


Travel over the upcoming March Break - February 18, 2021

Meds 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024:

Our thanks to each of you for being accommodating and understanding in a pandemic that has grown to impact each of us deeply. Students have reached out to UME inquiring on recommendations for travel over the upcoming March Break. We have the following to share:

  1. International Travel:

Travelling international is not supported by the MD Program. A student who does so will face losing up to three weeks of curriculum (i.e. Clerkship) on return. The release from the Federal Government states: ” To slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19covid 19 in the country, the Government of Canada has put in place an emergency order under the Quarantine Act that applies to all travellers arriving in Canada”

New recommendations for International travel restrict entry into Canada and were announced last week from the federal government. Travel out of country remains with a mandatory 14 day quarantine on arrival – now with a more controlled process:

https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2021/01/government-of-canada-introduces-further-restrictions-on-international-travel.html

  1. Interprovincial Travel:

We have consulted health units, hospitals and leaders on interprovincial travel and received this advice:

  • Effective January 29, 2021 as announced by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Province has formally adjusted their provincial recommendations re interprovincial travel:

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that individuals and families:

  • only travel out of the province if it is essential
  • self-isolate for 14 days when arriving in or returning to Ontario

 source:  https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-stop-spread#section-6

 The MD Program supports ALL health care organizations in discouraging strongly against interprovincial travel by any health care professional. That includes medical students. Some hospital partners (Windsor Regional Hospital and a variety of Distrusted Education hospitals) demand a 14 day quarantine from clinical care on arrival back from travelling outside Ontario. Others have not presently endorsed that process. While not presently on the COVID screen tools for all hospital and health care facilities, adding interprovincial travel as a question could be added without warning.

It is your responsibility, if travelling, to inquire in advance on the need for isolation from the health care site you will work with after March break and be aware that this issue (as in many COVID decisions) is fluid and may change on short notice.

 

Province-Wide State of Emergency Update (Year 1-4 Impact) - January 14, 2021

As communicated by Dean Yoo, I am writing to communicate the relevant changes and plans in the MD Program for curriculum across Years 1-4 in response to the directions from the January 12, 2020 Province of Ontario restrictions and Western University. 

You may hear additional details from your Courses and Course Chairs.

 

Meds 2023 and Meds 2024

  • For Principles of Medicine I and II and Transition to Clerkship:
    • All virtual learning and assessments will continue as scheduled
    • Meds 2024 Anatomy on-campus session in February will be deferred until later in the academic year.
    • Clinical Skills in person sessions will continue as scheduled.
    • Students who are out of province must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.
    • On-campus clinical assessment/learning will require strict adherence to: Passing Western Pre-screening; Social distancing; Washing; At all times wearing mask and visors to keep all safe.
    • Students who are not in attendance and have had their absence approved according to the Attendance and Absenteeism Policy for these sessions, will complete them following the end of the Academic year, at time to be determined by the program.

 

Meds 2022

  • Clerkship will continue as scheduled.
    • There will be no on campus sessions for instruction in any rotation.
    • End of Rotation assessments will be delivered in a virtual format.

 

Meds 2021

  • Clinical Electives will be completed as scheduled.
  • Year 4 OSCE will occur in February with six virtual stations on February 9-11. The on-campus OSCE assessments planned for February 16-18 will proceed if guidelines of the Pandemic allow

 I would ask that students direct questions related to course changes to Course Chairs through their course representatives to avoid a large number of duplicative e-mails.

I thank you for your understanding in this challenging time of medical education.

Province-Wide Lockdown (Year 3 and 4 Impact)

Yesterday the Government of Ontario announced new measures for the COVID-19 Pandemic, including a province-wide lockdown.

If you have departed or are planning to travel outside of the Province of Ontario within Canada during the province-wide lockdown that begins December 26 at 12:01am, you must quarantine for 14 days upon your return to Ontario. The MD Program recommends that you return to Ontario as soon as possible to minimize disruption to your clinical learning.  In addition, when you are returning to Clinical Learning, the hospitals and clinical sites may also have stricter screening questionnaires that may impact when you are able to return. 

Please follow public health guidance on how to quarantine: (https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-home-exposed-no-symptoms/covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-home-exposed-no-symptoms-eng.pdf)

If you are impacted by the above directive please complete this questionnaire no later than 11:55pm on December 30

Winterbreak Message

As you are preparing for the winter break, we wanted to highlight guidelines recommended by the Middlesex-London and Windsor Essex Health Units. Please review the following information before you leave for the holidays:

  • Drastically reduce your close contacts with others for 14 days before returning home. This will lower your risk of exposure to COVID-19, as well as the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to your family.
  • While on break, please use extra caution and continue to follow health and safety advice provided by Public Health officials, and limit your close contact with those outside your home.
  • Once the university reopens in January, please continue to limit close contact to those within your local home. If you travelled within Canada, limit your activities to only those that are necessary for your academic studies. Avoid social gatherings, especially for the first 14 days after you return to the Middlesex-London or Windsor-Essex area.
  • If travelling outside of Canada, you should also inquire about that country’s quarantine and testing requirements before leaving and comply with any direction provided.
  • If you travel outside of Canada during the holidays, you will need to quarantine for 14 days upon your return to Canada and you must register your quarantine plan with Western in advance and follow the required steps for international travel quarantine on arrival upon your return.  https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

London Based Clinical Learning

LHSC Surveillance Testing C6-400 VH Medicine Updates:

As part of the outbreak management measures put in place at LHSC in partnership with the MLHU, enhanced surveillance COVID-19 testing of clinical staff, physicians, residents and learners providing inpatient care on the outbreak unit of C6-400 medicine unit is being implemented. Clinical staff, physicians, residents and learners that start/end the day on this unit and/or those whose primary business is with patients on C6-400 medicine units from December 4th onwards, should be tested. Testing of transient staff is not required. Testing is mandatory and should be completed within the next 3 days. The need for any further testing beyond the recommendations for this week will be determined by testing results and further discussions with the MLHU. Individuals can continue to work while awaiting test results as long as they are asymptomatic.

Testing will be available daily at the VH COVID-19 testing centre located in building #14 from 13:30-1900. The morning hours at this location must be strictly reserved for staff that fail entrance screening. Staff may also be tested at one of the assessment centres in the community as well.

Regardless of testing centre location, staff, physicians, residents and learners are reminded to bring their ID badge for tracking purposes, as well as their Health Card, so that they can track their own result in Ontario’s online portal.  If individuals are going to be tested outside of LHSC at a community assessment centre, they should let the assessment centre know they work at LHSC (badge tap is available here)  and it is imperative that they notify their leader and OHSS to advise of date and location tested as well as results.

 

St. Joseph’s Healthcare London Guidelines Staff Movement Update:

St. Joseph’s Health Care London has refined the approach to staff, physicians, residents, fellows and students who are working at other hospitals other than St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

  • (1)Wherever possible, staff, physicians, fellows and students should be cohorted to working at one site (e.g. UH, VH, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute Mental Health, etc.)
  • (2)Staff, physicians, residents, fellows and students who have worked in the past 14 days at UH or in areas at other sites/hospitals/facilities that are on outbreak should not work at St. Joseph’s Health Care London.
  • (3)Exceptions to #2 may occur in scenarios for providers that are part of a group of individuals that provide specialized services AND the group is too small to cohort AND their services are required at St. Joseph’s Hospital Site. When these conditions are met the individuals moving from one site to another must use all applicable infection control practices, including COVID testing every 3-4 days, and PPE to minimize the likelihood of transmission of disease. Individuals may work while awaiting swab results. This exception should not be implemented for other sites at St. Joseph’s Health Care London (Mount Hope, Parkwood Institute, or Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health).
St. Joseph’s Health Care London will continue to review these guidelines and communicate any changes as they occur.

Windsor Based Clinical Learning

Information for Students and Residents coming to Windsor for clinical learning after working on a ward with a confirmed outbreak. This does not include the current situation at University Hospital.  Movement from UH currently requires a full 14 day isolation.

Option 1: You are asymptomatic and were adherent to PPE standards

On arrival to Windsor, you need to be swabbed at the assessment centre.  Please notify Employee Health at Windsor Regional Hospital at 519-995- 1854 or 519-995-0324. Identify yourself as a Schulich Learner in order to access the staff swabbing appointments. You may attend clinical duties in Windsor but MUST work isolate until your swab results are available. If you develop symptoms, please see option 3 below.

Option 2: You are asymptomatic but had close contact without PPE

You must stay away from clinical learning for 14 days OR swab on day 8 and return to learning once negative, provided you remain asymptomatic.

Option 3: You have symptoms (even mild ones)

If you have symptoms consistent with a presentation of COVID 19 or fail the COVID screen for the health facility, please STAY HOME, self-isolate and follow guidelines from Public Health Ontario. You will need to:

  • Notify your rotation administrator, preceptor/clinical team, Bianca Vasapolli (vasapolli@wrh.on.ca) and Stephanie Coccimiglio - Learner Experience (scocci@uwindsor.ca) of any short-notice absence.  Please contact me (larry.jacobs@schulich.uwo.ca) over the Holiday break (December 21-Jan 3).
  • Log the absence in the Schulich Hub (https://hub.schulich.uwo.ca).
  • Arrange to get a COVID test as soon as possible as you may not be able to return to work without a negative test result.
    • The turn around time for test results at the community assessment centres is normally 24 hours. You should notify them you are a student or resident to facilitate the test turnaround.

 Online appointments can be booked at the WRH assessment centre here:

Windsor Regional Hospital - COVID-19 Assessment Centre (wrh.on.ca)

 

Distributed Education Clinical Learning

Trainees/Learners who have worked in a facility with an outbreak unit, need to declare this to their host hospital Occupational Health Team and the Distributed Education Office (distributed.education@schulich.uwo.ca), through Dr. George Kim (gkim53@uwo.ca).

If you receive notification regarding a possible COVID exposure from a previous rotation, please connect with your local Occupational health team and Dr Kim for further guidance

COVID FAQs for students 

Additional Information for Students

Western University 

University of Windsor

 

Middlesex London Health Unit

Windsor Essex County Health Unit

 

London Health Sciences Centre

Windsor Regional Hospital

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare

 

Chatham Kent Public Health

Huron Perth Public Health

Lambton Public Health

Public Health Grey Bruce

Southwestern Public Health

 

Government of Ontario COVID-19 Information