September 30th, 2020

// Mobile Rapid Response Teams Among Other Measures Recommended to Tackle Regional COVID-19 Flare-ups

Mobile Rapid Response Teams Among Other Measures Recommended to Tackle Regional COVID-19 Flare-ups

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2020 /CNW/ – As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) is recommending the immediate creation of mobile rapid response teams to quickly identify and contain localized flare-ups.

Today, the OMA released A Prescription for Ontario: Maintaining Vigilance as We Learn to Live with COVID-19, a plan which contains recommendations for both the public and the government. The plan addresses our need to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while also tackling the ongoing backlog of medical services. As we go forward it is important to understand that success is a shared responsibility between government and individuals – everyone has a role to play. 

The OMA is urging the government to: 

  • Adopt a strategy to address COVID-19 flare-ups early. This may include local short-term, non-essential closures. 
  • Prepare and deploy mobile rapid response teams so trained personnel can identify and contain COVID-19 flare-ups through clinical support, testing, contact tracing and isolation. 
  • Use pop-up testing to bring COVID-19 assessment capacity to hot spots and vulnerable communities as well as support mobile response teams in those communities. 
  • Identify COVID-19 hospitals in each region to allow non-COVID-19 hospitals to ramp up clinical activity and address clinical backlog.

“Mobile rapid response teams will place skills and equipment where they are most needed, while allowing capacity within the system to address the backlog of patient services and better prepare for the flu season,” said OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. “Ontario doctors are deeply concerned about the dramatic rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and are calling on the government to move quickly to contain the spread of the virus and take a regional approach rather than a province-wide one. Timely, graduated and proportionate responses to localized outbreaks will ensure resources are preserved for where they are most needed, a dimmer-switch instead of a sledgehammer.”

Dr. Hill said the pandemic is a fluid and constantly changing situation that will vary by region, population and even individuals. “We should not expect the “new normal” to be a return to our pre-COVID normal; the situation will continuously change as the pandemic evolves and the system responds,” she said. “That means all of us must be aware and ready to adapt to changing circumstances, guidance and recommendations.”

In addition, the OMA is recommending that individuals:

  • Get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or come into contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. 
  • Wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces and outdoor spaces when physical distancing may be difficult. 
  • Continue with proper hygiene practices, including handwashing. 
  • Avoid closed spaces or crowded places. 
  • Download and use the COVID-19 alert app. 
  • Continue to seek care for non-COVID-19 related conditions, including mental health concerns. 
  • Get a flu shot when they become available. 
  • Balance the benefits to your mental, social, developmental, physical, and financial wellbeing against decisions that may put you and/or others at risk. 
  • Create a plan for managing essential needs, should you need to self-isolate.

“Tackling COVID-19 is a shared responsibility between all parts of the system and individuals and we are pleased to release a full plan that addresses all sides,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “As localized outbreaks increase, the role and expertise of regional and local public health officials is more important that ever. Ontario’s doctors will continue to work with them and with all stakeholders to protect Ontarians during this pandemic and provide them with the best possible care.”

 About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000 plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.  

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

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