Ottawa’s medical Chiefs of Staff: Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.

January 22, 2021

This is a joint message from Ottawa’s medical Chiefs of Staff

OTTAWA – January 22, 2021 – As medical Chiefs of Staff for Ottawa’s hospitals, we are asking everyone to adhere to provincial public health restrictions and stay home, except for essential reasons — reasons that include seeking medical care, essential work, groceries and exercise. We want our teams to continue delivering in-person care, whether that’s surgeries, diagnostic tests or specialist appointments.

We can do this, Ottawa. We've done it before - like after Thanksgiving, when we brought case numbers back into the double digits - and we are beginning to make progress again.

It’s important to do because the impact of COVID-19 on health-care services goes far beyond those who contract the virus. It affects everyone who needs hospital services.

Since last spring’s shutdown, we have learned a lot about the virus and how to keep everyone safe while providing care that must occur in person. So this time around, we are proceeding with in-person care, such as surgeries, diagnostic procedures and various specialty care appointments. We are also continuing with virtual care first, whenever possible.

Our dedicated staff and medical staff are working full-steam-ahead to make up for the many cancellations of in-person care that happened in the spring and summer as we adjusted to providing care in the midst of COVID-19. Despite the progress made, over 17,000 patients in our region are waiting for surgery.

However, our ability to make up this ground is in your control. We must all do everything we can to keep down the level of COVID-19 in the community. Failure to do so will lead to staffing and bed shortages, which will force us to cancel surgeries, diagnostics and other in-person care appointments, once again. These appointments could be yours, your parents’ or your own child’s. We don’t want that.

If COVID-19 cases rise too high, there is a risk that our ICUs will begin to reach capacity. This puts in jeopardy all the post-surgical care they provide. No room in our ICUs means scheduled surgeries must be delayed.

To help:

  • Ensure you and your family get tested when someone has any possible COVID-19 symptoms. Testing, tracing and identification is critical to stopping the spread. If we don’t know who has it, we can’t manage it.
  • Don’t socialize in person. This is the major source of spread right now.
  • Be careful during your breaks and in break rooms, if you are at work. Stay 2 meters apart. Mask when you’re not eating or drinking.

In addition, remember that our hospitals are safe. Don’t wait to seek medical attention. Some people are waiting too long to come to hospital, arriving with conditions that are more severe than is usually the case. Please seek medical attention if you think you need it.

We know this a stressful time for everyone. But the sooner we get through this pandemic, the sooner the health of our community can recover from this difficult time, whether that is our physical, mental or economic health.

We must flatten this curve. We’ve done it before; we can do it again.

Let’s all pull together and stay home, stay safe, save lives.

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