Patients could stay in town for out-of-town appointments
By Sue Tiffin
As non-urgent appointments are made available throughout the province and residents are contacted for specialty visits, Ontario Telemedicine Network allows for virtual care for out-of-town engagements.
“Part of Ontario’s publicly-funded health care system, virtual care through the OTN ensures that everyone has easy access to the best possible care when and where they need it,” said Carolyn Plummer, Haliburton Highlands Health Services CEO, in a weekly update on June 15. “This is especially valuable for rural communities such as ours with limited transportation options and excessive commutes to larger centres. Patients are connected to the physician using video conferencing and tele-diagnostics. The clinic is supported by a nurse who works with patients and doctors to ensure all of the required information is provided to make the most of your appointment time. Privacy is provided and ensured during your visit.”
The HHHS main clinic site has been moved to a new space in the Minden hospital site. Patients who think OTN could work for them should discuss this option with their physician, visit www.otn.ca/patients or call the HHHS OTN office at 705-457-1392 x2365 for more information.
Physiotherapy services accepting new referrals
The HHHS physiotherapy team is reaching out to patients on hold or on a waitlist, to restart services based on risk and priority. The clinic will be functioning at a reduced volume at the HHHS Minden auditorium, where it has been relocated.
“HHHS is glad to see this enthusiatic team and important service back in action,” said Plummer.
Visiting long-term care
After last week’s announcement from HHHS that outdoor visits were being organized, Premier Doug Ford announced on June 11 that long-term care visits under guidelines that include visitors receiving a negative COVID-19 test can begin June 18.
Plummer said HHHS was “pleased” with the news.
“We have worked diligently to keep our residents and staff safe during the pandemic,” she said in the June 15 update. “While excited and relieved, we must remain diligent with planning to ensure this is done in the safest possible way for everyone. All visitors must adhere to strict guidelines before meeting with relatives residing in LTC homes and we are working now on obtaining further clarification on these guidelines as well as developing policy and process that aligns with the direction we have received from the ministry. We look forward to sharing further updates with families in the next few days.”
Long-term care residences in Haliburton County have reported no positive cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents, with the Ministry of Long-Term Care issuing direction that all LTC staff should be tested for COVID-19 twice during the month of June.
On June 12, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit reported an outbreak in Fenelon Court long-term care home after one symptomatic resident tested positive for COVID-19, and a suspect outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home after a staff person with atypical COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. Both outbreaks were declared June 11. A previous COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Fenelon Court long- term care home on May 18 and declared over on May 30. A COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in the death of 29 people began at Pinecrest on March 18 and was declared over on May 14. At press time, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Haliburton County, with eight cases previously resolved.