On March 16, 2020, in response to the emergence of COVID-19 in Toronto, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) became one of the first hospitals to open a staff COVID-19 Assessment Centre. The centre was opened in collaboration between the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) and Privacy departments. The centre was staffed by a team made up of OHS staff and nurses who were redeployed from various units and the Nursing Resource Team (NRT). Today, the centre serves as an expedited assessment and testing site for any staff who fail entrance screening, experience COVID-19 symptoms, have a potential exposure or have questions about COVID-19 and their employment.
MGH’s IPAC team works very closely with the centre’s team to collaborate on policies and procedures and provide support for COVID-positive staff or those who have had significant exposures. Infectious diseases (ID) physicians personally contact every positive staff member to provide case management and contact tracing. They identify potential work exposures and work with OHS to inform and follow those exposed. With guidance from the privacy department, managers receive an email communication when staff are tested and are kept informed about whether staff can remain at work, must work from home or if they are off from work. Staff who have questions and concerns about COVID-19 have access to a hotline run by the centre.
The centre collects and manages data related to positive cases, reporting this regularly to leadership teams at MGH, Toronto Public Health and to government bodies.