COVID Update from our Chiefs of Staff

The following has been sent on behalf of Drs. Hayley Bos and Brian Mc Ardle, Chiefs of Staff and SIMAC Co-Chairs.

Jan 12 2022

We understand this is a very difficult time and that everyone is running on fumes. We are deeply grateful for each and every one of you, and the hard work and dedication you have shown during the pandemic.

A few key points we’d like to relay:

  • Vaccines work – although the Omicron variant is different, the message doesn’t change. Just because more of us will get this variant, it doesn’t mean our vaccine program has failed. You are less likely to get sick, need hospitalization or ICU admission with vaccine and booster.
  • Rapid antigen tests are now available on site at RJH and VGH. Supplies are somewhat limited at this early stage. They are meant for use for staff who are scheduled to work that day and develop mild symptoms (sore throat, fatigue). Note that fevers, SOB, significant cough and myalgia count as moderate/severe symptoms and in that case immediate self isolation and formal PCR testing is required.  Testing kits are being assembled by the microbiology lab and are dispensed to the Clinical Site Operations director (CSO) each day. Therefore if you develop mild symptoms on a day you are working, you can contact the CSO through the operator to get tested on site. If the test is negative and your symptoms are not worsening then you can continue to work with a requirement to adhere strictly to masking and hand hygiene. We are also happy to take a call/text directly from any physician to help navigate this and welcome feedback if the process is not working.
  • Isolation – The Provincial Health Officer is reinforcing the ability to continue to work, even with home exposures as long as you are asymptomatic. Our system would fail if every exposure needed isolation. We would also like to reassure everyone that we have multiple layers of protection in the hospital: vaccine, medical masks, social distancing, better ventilation, etc.
  • We realize the issue of ambulatory and surgical slowdowns is impacting many areas. We are willing to advocate for you if you feel your programs or patients are being impacted in an inequitable way. Please get in touch with us to discuss.

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