Letters to the Community - COVID-19 Updates

Letter to the Community for June 12, 2020 (view as PDF)

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Dear Friends and Neighbours,Image for June 12 Community Letter

We are pleased to update you on the fight against COVID-19 in Durham Region and at Lakeridge Health.

While the rate of hospitalization has dropped across Ontario over the last five weeks, it has levelled off in Durham. This means we all need to continue to do all the basics to keep ourselves, our co-workers, our friends and our families safe. This sustained collective effort is an essential component to seeing the numbers continue to decline so we can continue to open the economy and our community and ramp up services at the hospital.

New Ontario Strategies
Over the last few weeks, the Ontario Government announced new strategies to stop COVID-19. 

First, Ontario is expanding its testing strategy.  Testing coupled with intensive contact tracing will enable us to zero in on “hot spots” – such as local regions, neighborhoods, workplaces or long-term care homes – to quickly limit the spread of infection.

Second, the province is taking a regional approach to reopening. Currently, the GTA is believed to account for 75 per cent of active cases and other areas of the province have little or no new cases in recent weeks.

In response to COVID-19 activity in Durham, Lakeridge Health is working with Durham Region Health Department (DRHD) to ensure we optimize our approach to testing and case finding.  Public health has a team in place to do the contact tracing.

Enhanced Testing Strategy Results in Increased Testing in Durham Region
In order to gain further control of the virus, everyone who has any of the symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested. A list of symptoms is available on Lakeridge Health’s website at COVID-19 symptoms - June 2. Anyone who believes they may be exposed to people with COVID-19 should be tested.  The test is also available to anyone who wants to be tested.

Since May 25, the number of daily swabs done at our Assessment Centres has dramatically increased. To meet increased demand, we have extended hours at the Centres.  Currently, people are tested between three and 24 hours after they submit the form, but the time varies depending on volumes.

To get a test, go to covidswab.lh.ca to complete the online form and instructions for your appointment will be automatically emailed to you.  If you do not have a computer or WiFi, contact DRHD for assistance at 1 800-841-2729. Your appointment will be booked at a COVID Assessment Centre in Ajax or Oshawa. Anyone who is seriously ill or in medical distress should call 911 and be seen at one of our Emergency Departments.

Lakeridge Health, DRHD along with clinics and local businesses are actively looking at options to extend testing including opening sites in other parts of Durham Region. Stay tuned for more details.

Surgeries and Other Procedures
Though we have always maintained emergency surgery, and resumed priority cancer and non-cancer surgeries, we have also been busy planning to resume some elective surgeries.  We started with some elective cases this week.  Continued ramp up must be done carefully over the next several months.  We will increase the number of elective surgeries as fast as we can safely do it.  However, if cases of COVID-19 begin to rise in the region and in our hospitals, we may be forced to reduce surgeries once again.

Managing the Outbreak at Orchard Villa
Lakeridge Health is pleased to advise that Durham Region Health Department has declared the COVID-19 outbreak at Orchard Villa long-term care home and retirement home over.  Over the last two weeks, there have been no new positive cases confirmed at Orchard Villa. Currently, there are 155 residents who have recovered from the virus.

When Lakeridge Health went into Orchard Villa seven weeks ago to lead the outbreak response, in collaboration with the residence’s staff and the Canadian Armed Forces, we took immediate action to manage the outbreak and put supports in place to provide the best care possible to residents.  We are also pleased to be able to safely resume some essential services and activities that are so important to residents’ wellbeing.

We are proud of the Lakeridge Health team and Orchard Villa staff supporting this crucial work. Over the coming weeks, Lakeridge Health will take a more active role in the management of Orchard Villa to provide further support to the hardworking team on site.

Join our Virtual AGM on June 18!
Lakeridge Health is holding its first virtual AGM on Thursday June 18, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Over the better part of the past year, the talented team at Lakeridge Health has provided compassionate care and services to thousands of people living and working in Durham.

This year’s AGM will focus on essential business including such items as electing Trustees, accepting the Treasurer’s Report, appointing the Auditors and the proposed voluntary integration between Lakeridge Health and Durham Mental Health Services, and we will celebrate our incredible accomplishments in 2019/20 to provide safe, high quality care to our communities and our collective efforts to combat COVID-19.

To join the meeting you will require the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Edge or Firefox. Connect live at https://web.lumiagm.com/220546017

Since we began in early 2020 to ramp up our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lakeridge Health team has been strengthened by the unconditional support from everyone across Durham Region.

Thank you for your unwavering support and compassion as we navigate this uncharted territory together.

Wishing you good health,

Susan deRyk                                Dr. Tony Stone
Interim President and CEO          Chief of Staff

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Archive of COVID-19 Related Letters to the Community