MARCH 17, 2020
COVID-19 Update for Elgin County Primary Care


Dr. Joyce Lock will be available for a Health Care Provider Teleconferenc e:
Thursday, March 19 - 5:00 p.m.
Dial in info:  1-866-518-0785  ID 653117#

Dr. Chris Mackie (MHLU Medical Officer of Health) is also offering a
Health Care Provider Webinar (click that link at time and join in)
Friday Mar 20 1200-1230

COVID-19 Status Update - ELGIN

  • 0 cases in Elgin or Oxford as of today, 4 cases in London-Middlesex
  • 12 persons under investigation in Elgin/Oxford
  • Under-reporting/under-identification due to shortage of swabs - only testing hospitalized patients and a few other groups previously identified.
  • There is person-to-person transmission in Toronto confirmed today, we are estimated to be 7-10 days behind them.
  • State of Emergency in Ontario declared - those 70 and older should be self-isolating, closure of many public places including restaurants and bars, diversion of international flights to select airports.
  • Swabs are currently reasonably re-stocked at STEGH, 100 coming tomorrow, ministry is optimistic about availability of swabs going forward. There are some in every LTC home. 
  • Health Care Provider work recommendations:  As of Mar 13 – if returning from travel and SYMPTOMATIC as a health care provider. Do not return to work. self-isolate. If you are an ASYMPTOMATIC health care provider you are considered essential and you need to work and self-monitor and report symptoms immediately.
  • PH has added a call-centre and has increased staffing
  • Assessment Centre planning underway through STEGH for Elgin - goal to have people referred there after call or physician assessment, rather than a walk-in type clinic.

PPE and Swabs
Our ER colleagues are very grateful for the swabs we were able to contribute. There is small supply of 100 expected from the ministry tomorrow so they are ok for now.

There are still not enough swabs to be swabbing everyone in the community, this means we are underestimating the number of cases.

I would appreciate if you could appoint someone (staff) from each office to update this google doc daily or at least weekly so we can keep track of the inventory in primary care offices. If you clinic gives or loans or borrows other clinics facilities or STEGH any swabs or PPE, please note this at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

STEGH is offering primary care physicians can come to N95 MaskFit Clinics if you wish to be fit tested. *currently N95 is only needed for invasive aerosolizing procedures (collecting an NP swab is NOT an aersolizing procedure and does not require N95 either) . They may hold future ones and these may include NPs or Nurses as well. It is in the Human Resources wing which is just inside the East entrance and down the hallway to the right. Contact if you have more questions about this or want to do this outside of these times.

Thursday March 19 – 0730 – 0830
Wednesday March 25 – 0700 – 1600 

Virtual First
Please answer this survey so I can get a sense of how many
Family Physicians in Elgin are able to provide virtual visits,
and who needs help at this point.

Cancellation of Non-Urgent Care
It is now recommended by OMA to cancel all non-urgent health care visits.  Many of these can be converted to online visits or telephone visits, which are now billable. How do you know what is considered non-urgent/non-essential?

Suggested message for phone/office:
“Please be advised that due to the current public health emergency underway, you may experience your scheduled appointments being postponed or cancelled. This will help us focus our work towards managing the pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. However, we may be delayed in getting back to you because of a high volume of patients seeking care.”

Contacts for you
519-637-3266 is a direct line to STEGH that avoids the COVID-19 messaging which you cannot bypass on the regular public line.  Do not give this number to patients/caregivers/family.

Please consider calling switchboard or emailing  and offering your cell phone number in case you need to be contacted about one of your patients or your assistance is required.   Also let her know if you are willing/able to work at the hospital or assessment centre if needed.  Our colleagues may need our assistance at some point and you have lots of transferable skills.

Some of you mentioned difficulty getting through. There is a call centre and physician calls are prioritized. I requested a dedicated line that physicians/NPs could call. They are looking into this.

Social Media 
People trust their doctors. Please consider making a shareable tweet or facebook post on your personal page or making a clinic/practice page where you can share information publicly.  Our clinic has done some if you want to copy, feel free to!
Dr. Kellie Scott and Dr. Melissa Tenbergen
Elgin Primary Care Alliance