Important information regarding COVID-19

The Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines are being updated daily. Current guidance at our clinics is if you have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days and have symptoms of infection, such as fever or feeling feverish, cough, shortness of breath, or breathing difficulties; or if you have been in contact with a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 that you self-isolate. Cancel and reschedule your appointment with our clinics. Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local Public Health department for further direction. If you’re in Hamilton, you can reach the City’s COVID-19 Public Health line at 905-546-2424 ext. 7970.

It is well known that people with autoimmune diseases or any chronic condition have an increased risk of infection, irrespective of their treatment. We have received many calls from people who are currently on disease modifying treatments, such as biologics, that are concerned about their treatment during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to note that a person who is in low disease activity on their medication has less infection risk than someone who is off treatment and in a flared state, and that prednisone carries a greater infection risk than our disease modifying treatments.

The decision to hold medication is one between you and your prescriber. General advice would include holding your medication during any active infection which would include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which are also signs of COVID-19. If you have been exposed to a confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19 or a person with an acute respiratory illness, consideration should be made to hold your treatment and monitor symptoms of infection for up to 14 days as a precautionary measure.

It is important to note that these are general principles to help guide you through this time. This information does not replace individual advice from your prescriber.

For all those that receive home delivery of your medication, our drivers will have an altered protocol over the coming weeks. New procedures will include delivery of medication to the door wearing gloves, ringing the doorbell, setting down the delivery package and stepping back two metres. When the door opens, patients are to acknowledge receipt of package but will not be required to sign. The delivery person will be signing on their behalf confirming date and time and any details of the delivery. They will not leave until they know medication is safely in your possession. This is being done to reduce potential exposure and to respect your personal space during this time. As always, those that visit our clinics can be assured that we are highly vigilant in sanitizing our spaces as always.

It is highly recommended you follow Health Canada guidelines for hand washing (including using paper towels on door handles where possible), surface cleaning, and avoiding situations where large crowds are gathered in close proximity. As always, we encourage you to optimize your own health.  Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, fresh air, and exercise and eat a balanced diet following Canada’s Food Guide.  These actions will help you maintain a strong immune system.

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