As you are likely aware from news reports over the weekend, Ontario health officials have confirmed two presumptive diagnoses of illness secondary to coronavirus in Toronto.
Please note that the following message was sent to all of our learners currently on placement, to ensure that they are informed and updated on the current situation.
The University of Toronto and our hospital partners are working closely together to optimize the management of the Coronavirus concerns across our system. As of this morning, January 27, there has been confirmation of two presumptive case of 2019-nCoV in Toronto.
While health officials note the risk of contracting the virus remains low, we must all be prepared to safely deal with sick and highly infectious patients. We want to ensure that you are kept safe and your patients are kept safe while you are performing your duties.
The expectation of the Faculty of Pharmacy is that all pharmacy students in both Direct Patient Care (DPC) and Non-Direct Patient Care (NDPC) rotations uphold their professional obligation and comply with hospital requirements related to infection prevention and control.
Mask Fit Testing
As a student enrolled in our Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) or PharmD for Pharmacists program you are expected to adhere to all hospital and program requirements including those related to mask fit testing and appropriate training. To our knowledge, all 2T0 students currently in placements have received the appropriate Mask Fit training and testing. However, if for some reason you have lapsed in mask fit testing or believe that there has been a change in your fit status (major weight change, for example), then you must not engage in at-risk activities until a new updated fit test is done. Please consult with your local hospital infection control personnel or review related policies to determine how the institution manages individual circumstances.
If you cannot be fit-tested, and there is any potential risk that you will need to care for an infected patient, then you may, where appropriate be relieved of your duties, or assigned alternative duties by your preceptor.
We understand there are varying perspectives on the approaches taken to protect providers and patients, however we can assure you that the processes in place have been well thought out and we ask that all learners respect the local expertise that has informed these. Please contact your assigned preceptor or your hospital Education Coordinator if you have questions or concerns, or need additional information on the hospital’s policies and best practices regarding infection prevention and control programs in Ontario.
We understand that this is a time of heightened anxiety and concern. We have learned a great deal from previous events and are confident that our processes are optimized to address the current situation.
Information is available at:
- Toronto Public Health
- Public Health Ontario
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- World Health Organization
Please contact the Office of Experiential Education if you have further questions at this time.