On December 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (COVID-19) through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
The development and response to COVID-19 is constantly changing. For Health Care Provider updates, please subscribe to our mailing list.
Probable cases must be reported immediately by phone to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at 625-8318 or toll-free 1-888-294-6630, ext. 8318 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). After hours and on weekends/holidays call Thunder Bay Answering Service at (807) 624-1280.
- All returning travellers returning to Canada (including from the US) should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of return to Canada.
Social (Physical) Distancing
- In order to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the Thunder Bay District, TBDHU is recommending social (physical) distancing for all residents.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Updated scientific and epidemiological evidence demonstrates, that routes of transmission for COVID-19 are through droplet/contact. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through the airborne route. Airborne precautions (N95 masks) are not required to prevent transmission unless a health care provider is performing or anticipating performing an aerosol generating procedure (for example: tracheotomy care, suctioning). Note: the majority of cases are linked to person-to-person transmission through close direct contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19.
- The change noted above has been authorized by CMOH Dr. David Williams as evidenced by updated IPAC measures.
Testing Priorities and Assessment Centre
- First priority for testing is for health care workers and travellers that are symptomatic and returning from international travel or a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- Currently, it is not recommended to test individuals without symptoms, even if they are self-isolating due to travel outside of Canada or close contact with a symptomatic individual.
- Please the attached memo for an update on testing at the TBRHSC
- Please visit Public Health Ontario's COVID-19 Testing
Local and Provincial Epidemiology
- There currently are no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the Thunder Bay District. The current status of cases and tests is reported on the TBDHU main COVID-19 website daily.
- Updates will be posted on Twitter and Facebook as well.
- Every day, 7 days a week, at 10:30 am and 5:30 pm ET, the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario will be available from the Status of Cases in Ontario on the Government of Ontario's site.
Updated Case Definition (March 30, 2020)
An updated Case Definition from the Ministry of Health can be found here: Case Definition - Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
People that meet the case definition below are required to self-isolate for 14 days and call the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or 1 (888) 294-6630 or call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 for further instructions about getting testing.
- A person with a fever (over 38°C) and/or a new or worsening cough AND one of the following:
- Travel to an impacted country outside of Canada, based on the WHO list of impacted countries: WHO: Situation Reports
- Close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
- Close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to an impacted area AND whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is not available, recommended, inconclusive, or negative.
Close contacts of someone who has been required to self-isolate
- If an individual in a household with a suspect/probable case (as per case definition above) is in contact with family/household members before they self-isolate, then those close contact would also be required to self-isolate and contact TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or 1 (888) 294-6630.
- If the household contacts were not exposed to the suspect / probably case before they self-isolated, then only self-monitoring is required.
Health Care Provider Email Updates:
- April 4, 2020 - Update from Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health
- April 2, 2020 - Updated Guidance Documents and Pregnancy Info
- March 24, 2020 - Guidance for Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting and TBDHU Referrals
- March 21, 2020 - Update on Preparations and Actions
- March 18, 2020 - Self-Assessment and OHIP Billing/Testing Centre Information and Pregnancy and COVID-19
- March 13, 2020 - Updated Guidance for Transmission and PPE (COVID-19)
- March 12, 2020 - Press Conference - COVID-19 Update
- March 11, 2020 - First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Northern Ontario (Sudbury)
Sign up for email alerts and notices here: Health Care Providers
Guidance documents have been produced for a number of health sector partners related to COVID-19. Please refer to the updated case definition for a list of the impacted areas as this list has been updated since the initial release of these documents.
(Note: you will need to scroll to middle of the page to access these documents)
- Guidance for Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting
- Guidance for Acute Care
- Guidance for Home and Community Care Providers
- Guidance for Long-Term Care
- Guidance for Paramedic Services
- Guidance for Independent Health Facilities
- Guidance for Laboratories
- Guidance for Pharmacies
Please scroll to the bottom of the COVID-19 Guidance for the Health Sector page to access patient and visitor signage in multiple languages.
- March 27, 2020: Revised SOGC Infectious Disease Committee Statement on Health Care Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- At this time there is no evidence that pregnant people are more susceptible to the consequences of COVID-19, nor is there evidence of increased risk to their baby. For this reason, “…pregnant women in essential services, including HCW, can continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In situations where a worker may be exposed to a person who is suspect or confirmed to have COVID-19, appropriate personal protective equipment should be used. No additional PPE measures are required for pregnant HCW beyond those that are advised for non-pregnant HCW. Given that the data on COVID-19 during pregnancy is in its infancy, where staffing allows, avoiding unnecessary exposure to patients with suspected or known COVID-19 should be considered.”
- “Pregnant women with comorbidities including cardiac disease, hypertension and pulmonary disease may wish to contact their prenatal care provider with respect to their risk of COVID-related morbidity and may wish to modify their risk of exposure accordingly. In absence of comorbidities, workplace allowances and workload-carriage for pregnant staff need not be further modified for COVID-19.”
COVID-19 and Pregnancy
- Pregnant Health Care Workers can continue to work. Should use PPE as per regular protocol where exposed to person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- SOGC has Frequently Asked Questions for Managing Pregnant Patients in the COVID-19 Pandemic for Health Care Providers regarding telephone consults, patient centered discussions regarding separation if mom or baby have COVID 19, cesarean with COVID 19 requiring intubation, support person, and PPE during delivery.
Resources for Health Care Providers
SOGC March 27, 2020: Revised SOGC Infectious Disease Committee Statement on Health Care Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Memo - March 20, 2020 Re: Update on COVID-19 Preparations and Actions (PDF)
- MEMO from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health - March 13, 2020 Re: Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, Supportive Housing, Hospices and other congregate care settings (PDF)
- Memo from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health – March 12, 2020 Re: Enhanced Public Health Measures for COVID-19 (PDF)
- Memo from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health – January 23, 2020 (PDF)
- Memo from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health – January 10, 2020 (PDF)
- Ontario College of Family Physicians - COVID-19 Information & Resources
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): For health professionals
- Public Health Ontario - 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- Ontario Hospital Association - Updates on the novel coronavirus
Self-Monitoring and Self-Isolation
Updated March 16, 2020 - Please refer patients to the Self-Assessment tool from the Ministry of Health.
- COVID-19 - How to Self-Monitor (PDF)
- Comment s’autosurveiller - COVID-19 (PDF)
- COVID-19 How to Self-Isolate (PDF)
- Comment s’auto-isoler - COVID-19
- COVID-19 - Self-Isolation for Caregivers, Household Members and Close Contacts (PDF)
- Auto-isolement : Guide à l’intention des fournisseurs de soins, des membres du ménage et des contacts étroits - COVID-19 (PDF)
For other languages, please visit: COVID-19 Public Resources
National Collaborating Centre on Infectious Diseases – Knowledge Translation
For Further Information
Call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 625-5900 or toll-free 1-888-294-6630.