How much PPE do we have?
Provincial guidelines for the Health Centre recommend a two-week supply. This has been very difficult to maintain. With a shipment from the Ministry this past Wednesday, our current supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is sufficient for eight days. This is monitored closely and the utilization of PPE is directly related to the type and volume of patient care being provided in all departments of the health centre.
Donald Sanderson, Chief Executive Officer
When will elective surgeries begin again?
Ontario Health has notified all hospitals not to begin ramping up elective surgeries and procedures if their hospitals have capacity because of the impact long-term care needs could have on acute care and the very high risks. [Ontario Health is] working on recommendations for taking a measured approach to ramping up at the appropriate time.
April 22 Response – Matthew Anderson, President and CEO, Ontario Health
How did our Laboratory secure the ‘rare’ BioFire COVID-19 analyzer?
We started searching in early March when we realized provincially, we didn’t have the ability to do a significant amount of testing. We know how critical testing can be for a pandemic and wanted to do everything in our power to put us in a good position locally. It is really important that we do testing to understand the scale of what we are facing with the pandemic. The ability to have rapid results is critical to guide clinical decision making, avoiding risk while treating patients, and preserving the constrained supply of PPE by using it only when necessary and appropriate.
Can you do testing while you wait for Health Canada?
We have the analyzer, we simply don’t have the BioFire test kits to perform the COVID-19 testing. The test kits are made in Salt Lake City, Utah. We cannot obtain test kits until the Health Canada approval comes through. Rest assured that we are doing everything possible to expedite test results and working with many organizations and government bodies to improve this process.
There are other useful applications for this testing equipment that will be beneficial in the future.
Once approved will testing replace the Assessment Centre?
At a 45-minute turnaround time for results, our BioFire will only be able to complete 30 tests per 24-hour period. The target is in-hospital use. We will use this in-house testing system in parallel with the provincial lab testing/results process.
Laura Laaksonen, MLT
Manager of Laboratory Services and Medical Imaging
Why is the Mobile x-Ray System key to COVID-19 Response Planning
The importance of a portable x-ray machine during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be stressed enough. Most importantly, it allows imaging to be done directly at the point of care, without transporting an at-risk patient throughout the hospital. These portable machines are used throughout the hospital, including in the Emergency Department, the Intensive Care Unit, the Operating Room, and in Acute Care.
Our current portable x-ray device requires two Medical Imaging Technologists to be involved during COVID cases, because it requires that for every image taken, a potentially-contaminated image plate must be removed from the patient’s bed, then cleaned off, and handed off to a second technologist for developing in the clean part of the Medical Imaging Department, before it can finally be processed for viewing. The new device will actually allow for the immediate viewing of the image without having to move a potentially-contaminated plate into the department for processing.
These portable machines use a significantly lower dose of radiation, which reduces the risks to the patients and staff. As you may imagine, updating the technology from our 15-year-old machine will also allow for clearer images and increased efficiency. The new machine is also capable of serving several patients in succession. Imaging multiple cases will no longer pose a delay in processing between patients.
In short, we can serve more patients, in a shorter amount of time, with better results, and in a much safer way which poses less risk to patients!
Wil Smith, M.D., President of Medical Staff