• 30 JAN 20

    Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    See the March 16 update regarding urgent care only at optometry offices during COVID-19

    Update March 20, 2020

    In December 2019, a new respiratory illness — novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — was identified in Wuhan, China. The virus is now being reported in numerous countries, including Canada. Those with the virus may present with mild to severe symptoms that include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

    The College is in regular contact the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care regarding novel coronavirus in Ontario, and will provide updates relevant to optometrists as they occur.

    What you can do

    Everyone is encouraged to follow normal health precautions, such as good hand hygiene. The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise travel and that all travellers returning from any destination self-isolate for 14 days following their return.

    Optometrists have been asked to provide urgent care only at this time and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued a directive that all non-essential, elective care cease until further notice.

    Optometrists must ensure patients have a means of contacting them for urgent cases. Optometry offices can provide care and advice to patients over the phone, including triaging new patients who call with concerns about changes to their vision.

    Guidance for Primary Care in a Community Setting, found on the Ministry of Health website for health care providers, is intended to support primary care providers in settings where patients typically visit for the diagnosis and treatment for acute respiratory symptoms. Settings that provide services such as optometry are not expected to conduct active screening.

    What you must do

    If, in the course of providing care, an optometrists suspects has or may have a disease of public health significance, the optometrist has a duty to report to their local public health units.

    Resources for Optometrists

    Resources for the Public

    If you have returned from any location outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are sick with coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or have questions about your symptoms, contact Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit. Check the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care public website for regular updates on coronavirus in Ontario.

    • Ministry of Health resources:
      • Coronavirus information sheets: how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you have contracted coronavirus.
      • Poster: What you need to know to keep you and your family healthy in English and French.
    • Resources from Public Health Ontario on how to wash your hands, how to self-monitor or self-isolate, as well as caring for others.