London Middlesex Primary Care
COVID-19 Update
December 22, 2020
Ontario is moving into Lockdown!

A province wide shutdown is in effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Learn about the restrictions and public health measures that are in place.

Between RED (control) and GREY (lockdown), services should not vary much and will largely depend on an office's capability with their available staff and office flow.
Health care over the holidays

As we head into the busy holiday season, I encourage all my primary care colleagues to develop plans to ensure access and coverage for your individual practices and the Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, NPLCs, groups and organizations to which you belong.

This has been a challenging year and people deserve their much-anticipated time off during the holiday season. We also know that the pandemic has increased patient needs - from mental health to delayed access to surgeries or investigations and infectious diseases. It continues to place pressure on emergency and acute care services across Ontario, as well as on primary care practices. To help reduce hospital overcrowding and support timely access to health care services, we need to plan proactively for the holiday season, even more so than in previous years.

Below are some planning tips for the holiday season:

  • Include your office hours over the holiday period, including any after-hours care options for your patients in your voicemail message or website (a template can be found here).

  • For those in groups, divide the two weeks so that half the team provides coverage during the first week, including December 25 and the other half covers the second week, including New Year’s Day

  • For those in smaller practices, consider making local arrangements with neighbourhood practices to provide cross coverage

  • Consider that community physicians can bill A888 (Emergency Department Equivalent) from December 25th – Jan 1 inclusive. In addition you can bill a virtual code (K080,K081,K082) and the A888 ON THE SAME DAY, BUT NOT ON THE SAME PATIENT (See #28 in the attached OMA bulletin).

  • Make sure your patients who are on critical or controlled meds have enough to cover the holiday period

Here's information on health services available for patients over the holidays (in addition to your own office):

Quarantine for households

New quarantine requirements are in place in London and Middlesex County as well as Elgin and Oxford Counties for household members of individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19.

For school-aged children who show symptoms, please follow the Decision Tool for Parents and Caregivers.
Updates on COVID vaccine
(courtesy of AFHTO - the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario)
Recent updates include:
Update on COVID Vaccination in London Middlesex
I wanted to thank everyone who has submitted their names to work at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic. I apologize if some of you were not given the opportunity to volunteer as the recruitment process moved quickly last Thursday. Individuals were "tapped" on the shoulder and the communication process blossomed from there.

Thank you very much as well to Drs. Scott McKay, Eric Wong and Steve Wetmore and other primary care doctors who have helped to recruit names of volunteers. Regardless of how you were contacted, rest assured that your names have now been incorporated into a single list of volunteer physicians, now numbering approximately 145. This is a tremendous response, which clearly shows how eager family physicians are to help. The coordination of physician vaccinators has been delegated to the Citywide Department of Family Medicine and the London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance.
The COVID-19 clinic is being setup at the Agriplex at the Western Fair and will be opening soon. Family physician vaccinators will not be required before Monday, December 28th, and scheduling will be starting in the next few days.
The clinic is being operated under the auspices of LHSC and vaccinators must therefore have hospital privileges. For those who do not have hospital privileges there is an expedited process that will be utilized if additional physicians are necessary and you will be contacted about this, if the need arises.
When scheduling starts those physicians with ACTIVE LHSC privileges will be prioritized, contacted by telephone, and be able to book a shift(s). Shifts will be 3 hours, from 10:00 - 1:00 and 1:00 – 4:00. When you are called about scheduling shifts you will need to provide your name, of course, email address and cell phone number, if not already available to the schedulers.
For your first shift, please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to get oriented to the App and process. Come to the main Agriplex entrance and you will be screened for COVID symptoms and directed from there. Billing for clinic work will be the same as working in the assessment centre. Billing information is being compiled and will be provided to each physician.
Once again, thank you very much for your commitment to providing vaccinations for COVID-19 and helping to get this pandemic under control. Please contact me with any questions.
If there are non-hospital COVID-19 related issues/solutions in your region, please escalate them to your
Regional Pandemic Clinical Lead
(tasked by Ontario Health West to facilitate, coordinate, and engage with stakeholders for the pandemic response within the SW LHIN area RE: primary care/vulnerable populations)...structure HERE.
Dr. Gordon Schacter
Co-Chair, SW Prim Care/Vulnerable Pop'n Response
London. Middlesex Pandemic Clinical Lead