TO OUR PATIENTS AT LAKESHORE MEDICAL GROUP:

 

If you are not physically in the province of Ontario at the time of your virtual, or phone appointment our physicians cannot provide medical care. Our physicians’ practicing licenses are for Ontario only. 

 

Updated Mask Guidelines/Requirements:

As of March 21, masking will continue to be required in select settings such as public transit, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other health care settings (i.e. Medical Clinics), shelters, jails and congregate care and living settings, including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

In addition to the settings above, masks will also be required in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are required to wear a mask until day 10 following a positive test result or the onset of symptoms (whichever occurred first).
  • Close contacts and household contacts of individuals with COVID-19 are required to wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have recently traveled outside of Canada, have to wear a mask for 14 days upon return.

Halton Region Public Health is also reminding residents that wearing a mask continues to be an effective public health measure for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and to be kind to those who choose to continue wearing a mask to protect themselves and others.

“There is still risk of transmission in Halton and we need to be mindful that the risk of infection and severe disease is greater for some individuals than others, including those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions, and older adults,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Some individuals may choose to keep wearing masks in places where they are not required, and others, such as those who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases, will be required to wear masks for a period of time. Businesses and organizations may also continue to require or encourage mask use based on the risk in their workplaces and to their patrons. I encourage all Halton residents to continue to be kind and respectful to everyone, regardless of their decision to wear a mask or not.”

We still require all patients coming into the office to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

Updated Covid-19 Exposure Guidelines  

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, assume that you may have the virus and may be contagious.

You must isolate:
-for at least five days if you are fully vaccinated or are under 12 years of age
-for at least 10 days if you are over the age of 12 and not fully vaccinated, are immunocompromised , or live in a highest risk setting

If you LIVE WITH someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19, you DO NOT need to isolate if one of the following applies to you:

1.you have previously tested positive in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms
2. you are over 18 years old and have received a COVID-19 booster dose
3.you are under 18 years old and are fully vaccinated

Instead, for 10 days after exposure:
-self-monitor for symptoms
-wear a mask and avoid activities where mask removal would be necessary
-do not visit anyone who is at higher risk of illness, such as seniors, or any highest risk settings (unless you previously tested positive in past 90 days)
If you do not meet any of the criteria above, you must isolate while the person with symptoms/positive test result isolates (or for 10 days if you are immunocompromised).
____________________________________________________________________________________

If you’ve been exposed to someone from another  household with symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result

You are required to:
1.self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after your last exposure
2.wear a mask, avoid activities where mask removal is necessary (such as dining out, high contact sports) and follow all other public health measures if leaving home
3.do not visit any highest-risk settings (such as long-term care or retirement homes) or people who may be at higher risk of illness (such as seniors) for 10 days after your last exposure

***Please be advised of  Public Health Guidelines and Lakeshore Medical Group’s updated face coverings/mask Policy as of December 21, 2021

If you’re booked for an in person appointment and are planning to come into the clinic, please be advised that: cloth masks/ scarves/ bandanas, neck gaiters etc will not be permitted for use in our clinic. We require ALL patients regardless of vaccination status, to wear a well fitted surgical/medical grade mask before entering the clinic**

***For Those Experiencing COVID or Flu Like Illness*** Please see below for details on the COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinics available in our communities:

These clinics were established to offer in-person physician assessment and treatment for those experiencing COVID or flu-like illness. All patients are welcome, including those not affiliated with primary care, and patients are not required to have a valid health card to attend the clinic. The intent of these clinics is to provide an additional option to the public if they are unable to book an appointment with their regular primary care team and they need to be assessed by a physician or nurse practitioner for their COVID or flu-like symptoms. To find locations in your region, please CLICK HERE for Halton, or CLICK HERE for Peel, and search by location.

 

For Patients With Questions About COVID-19, Please Read The Following:

As Omicron sweeps through communities across Ontario, Canada and beyond, patients are grappling with a large amount of confusing information and new uncertainties about COVID.
To cut through the confusion, family doctors have come together to help patients and the public make sense of the current COVID rules and realities. The ‘Confused about COVID? Family doctors answer your questions’ series offers patients and the public trustworthy advice about protecting their health and how family doctors can help.

https://dfcm.utoronto.ca/confused-about-covid

 

An Update from Public Health Regarding Testing and Contact Tracing Guidelines (Updated Jan 6, 2022)

PCR testing for COVID-19 is now only available to certain groups, including hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, and residents or staff of long-term care/retirement homes. As a result of limited testing availability, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should be assumed to have COVID-19, must self-isolate for minimum of 5 days, and not seek testing. Household members of someone symptomatic with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive case (PCR or Rapid Antigen Test) must also isolate for 5 days while the case or symptomatic individual is isolating. Current guidance for case and contact management continues to advise that patients who test positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic with COVID-19 symptoms must inform their close contacts. Public Health will continue to perform case and contact management in high risk settings (long term care homes, retirement residences, hospitals, congregate settings and First Nations communities). Schools and daycares are not classified as high risk settings for case and contact management purposes. Currently only test-confirmed cases in high risk settings (outlined above) need to be reported to Public Health. Please do not call to report positive PCR or RAT tests.

 

*Please Note* Our Receptionists are now working in the office, however, you may still receive calls from a blocked number when remote staff, or your family physician attempts to call you. Please be sure your phone is set to accept blocked numbers.

 

We understand the fear and frustration that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused and we have been working hard to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality medical care while taking into account the health and safety of our patients, physicians and staff. 

We are reducing all non-essential visits and services and replacing them with virtual visits (i.e. telephone and video communication). Non-essential visits include periodic health assessments (i.e. physicals), routine pap tests and minor ailments. We are recommending that you still continue with routine childhood immunizations as there will be dedicated times to book these appointments. With this in mind, we ask that you DO NOT come into the clinic without an appointment. THIS INCLUDES NURSE AND LAB VISITS! If you feel you need to see your doctor or the nurse for any reason, please read the list of frequently asked questions below prior to contacting the office for an appointment. 

**IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT NURSE VISITS** We are no longer accepting walk-in visits to see the nurse. If you wish to see the nurse, you must call and speak with the nurse directly to book an appointment as needed. 

**IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT LAB VISITS** We are no longer accepting walk-in visits to the lab. If you have seen your doctor in our office (suite 502), or have spoken with your doctor directly over the phone or through video chat, and they have asked you to come in ON THE SAME DAY for blood work, urine testing, or an EKG, you will be asked to knock loudly on the lab door to identify yourself. The door will be locked and Diana will let you in. If you are coming to the lab for any other reason (i.e. a standing order for bloodwork, bloodwork ordered by a specialist for an upcoming appointment, etc.,) you must call 905-845-4511 ext. 224 to be screened for COVID-19 and to be given an appointment.

**IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT COVID RELATED DOCTOR’S NOTES** Please note that symptomatic individuals requesting Doctor’s notes to return to school, or employment, or for those who wish to forego testing for COVID-19 generally cannot be honored as per advice and guidelines from Halton Public Health, the Ontario Medical Association and the Ministry of Health.

 

We all need to take COVID-19 very seriously. Although we currently do not have many case fatalities in Canada, we are at risk of getting to the point of a health care crisis. We ask you to do your part to help “flatten the curve” so that we can protect our most vulnerable populations and keep our hospital beds available for those who need them the most. 

 

REMEMBER THAT WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY! 

 

For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Halton Public Health Website https://www.halton.ca/For-Residents/Immunizations-Preventable-Disease/Diseases-Infections/New-Coronavirus

 

COVID-19 self-assessment

If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, click HERE to use the self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.

 

 

For further information, please read below for answers to frequently asked questions:

 

1) Who should be tested for COVID-19?

As the supply for nasopharyngeal swabs is limited, COVID-19 testing is reserved for those at high risk of severe illness or transmitting to someone vulnerable. 

From Halton Public Health Website:

Halton Region Public Health and health care partners continue to focus on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from the following people who have symptoms (e.g., fever, new cough, difficulty breathing, etc.):

  • those aged 60 and over;
  • those with pre-existing medical conditions;
  • those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • those living or working in a health-care or long-term care setting or institution; or
  • First Nation community members living on-reserve.
  • Anyone else directed by Halton Region Public Health

If you have symptoms AND meet one of the criteria above you may be tested for COVID-19. Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre.

Residents of Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills can book an appointment at a Halton Healthcare Assessment Centre by calling 905-203-7963. Residents of Burlington can call 905-632-3737 ext 6550 to book an appointment at the Joseph Brant Hospital COVID Assessment Clinic.

*Appointments are necessary to attend an Assessment Centre in Halton.

Individuals without symptoms are NOT being tested at this time.

Individuals with mild symptoms that do not meet the criteria above are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. You do not need to contact Public Health.

If you have SEVERE symptoms, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

2) What are the current symptoms?

The following symptoms have been listed in the screening questions provided by the Ministry of Health (Last updated Apr 22, 2020):

  • Fever
  • New onset or worsening chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing

In addition, the following secondary symptoms has also been listed:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decrease or loss of sense of smell
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained fatigue/malaise
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea/vomiting

 

3) What do I do if I have symptoms but do not qualify for testing?

 

From Halton Public Health Website: Individuals with mild symptoms that do not meet the criteria listed in FAQ 1 are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. You do not need to contact Public Health.

If you have SEVERE symptoms, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

3) How do I protect myself and my family from getting ill?

 

Practice social distancing. This means avoiding non-essential exposures to other people, especially those over the age of 60 or immunocompromised. 

Sanitize your hands frequently either with alcohol-based sanitizer or hand washing with soap and water x 20 seconds.

Avoid touching your face at all costs. 

 

4) What do I do if I travelled out of province or outside of Canada in the last 14 days?

 

Returning travellers from outside of Canada (including the United States of America) should self-isolate for 14 days from the day of return.

  • If they develop symptoms within 14 days, they should stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including others at home, until 24 hours after symptoms have resolved or 14 days after returning from travel, whichever is longer.
  • people with mild symptoms DO NOT require testing.

 

5) How do I access medical care during this period?

 

Lakeshore Medical Group Physicians will continue to be available to patients. However, all elective appointments such as physicals will be postponed for at least 1 month. We will try to substitute all in-person visits for virtual visits (telephone calls or video conferencing when feasible). We will be delaying the ordering of any non-urgent tests and referrals for at least one month.

 

Please do not walk-in or come to the office if you are symptomatic or have travelled in the past 14 days as we are running very low on personal protective equipment like masks. Contact the office instead at 905-845-4551 for further directions. If it is after hours, please contact TELEHEALTH at +1 866-797-0000. If you need to see a physician after 5pm call 905-815-9177.

For any questions regarding symptoms, testing criteria, and when to stay home if you do have symptoms, please refer to FAQ 1, 2 & 3 prior to contacting the office.

 

6) What about the After Hours Clinic?

 

Please do not attend the After Hours Clinic for routine prescriptions and assessments and contact your regular physician as they may be able to assess you by a virtual visit.

If you are having respiratory symptoms, please refer to the comments above in FAQ 1, 2 & 3.

If you have had travel history in the past 14 days, please do not come to the After Hours Clinic and contact your regular physician.

 

7) Do I need a sick note for work if I have symptoms?

 

No. 

 

8) Where can I read more about COVID-19?

 

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

https://www.halton.ca/For-Residents/Immunizations-Preventable-Disease/Diseases-Infections/New-Coronavirus

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus

https://www.ontariofamilyphysicians.ca/tools-resources/timely-trending/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/ocfp-coronavirus-infographic-4-final.pdf

 

WE APPRECIATE YOUR COOPERATION DURING THIS TIME. 

 

– LAKESHORE MEDICAL GROUP PHYSICIANS