The New Normal:

Access to health care services has undergone massive change in the last week. These changes 

are a result of a global pandemic of a novel coronavirus, covid 19.

  • this virus spreads rapidly and is transmitted by droplets from coughs and sneezes, but is also found in urine and faeces.

  • exposed individuals may go through an "incubation period" during which they may feel well.

  • the period after exposure to disease is up to 14 days.

  • individuals who are going to get sick "shed virus" for up to two days before symptoms arise

There is no cure, no vaccine, and treatment helps with symptoms only.

The condition is sometimes fatal, especially in older populations [over 80 years of age] and ill populations [those with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer.] Mortality rates are nearly 20% in those over 80, and a bit less for those who are chronically ill. Mortality rates are lower in younger people, and lowest in children and infants.

SO THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO IS AVOID SPREADING THE VIRUS IF WE HAVE BEEN EXPOSED.

There are lots of sources of more information on this, but I mention it here because the profound changes in health care delivery come from this idea that we have to stop spreading the illness, especially before we are ill. This is why self isolation [that's me now] and social isolation [meaning, keep your distance] are the ONLY way we can contain this thing.

People like physicians are critical in this effort:

  • we do not want to be infected: there won't be enough of us to treat people with the illness, and physician resources are limited.

  • but we also do not want to inadvertently spread the virus before we ourselves know we are ill. Remember we treat very frail people frequently, and spreading this virus could be fatal to them.

Physicians have been asked to perform a kind of extreme form of social distancing in our professional lives. This means:

  • we do not see patients face to face unless absolutely necessary.

  • ​as family physicians we will see:

    • woman who are pregnant, to monitor their condition​

    • Infants and children to immunize them

    • people who require other forms of immunization or other injectable treatments such as bone hardeners or anti cancer therapies.

  • as family physicians we should NOT see:

    • individuals for Annual or Periodic Health Exams including routine pap tests.​

    • follow up visits for many chronic conditions.

    • assessment and treatment for many common conditions or some new conditions.

  • while Annual Health or Periodic Health Exams can be rescheduled, we have had to get creative when it comes to treating these other things like treating chronic things or assessing chronic or new conditions.

  • we are using "virtual" visits to perform these duties.

Other health care workers such as nurses who work in hospitals, laboratory technicians, hospital staff, and physicians who work in hospitals also need to perform this more extreme form of social distancing. This helps prevent spread of the infection and shortage of health care staff. This means:

  • many routine hospital functions have been cancelled. This includes pulmonary function testing and many ambulatory care clinics.

  • the  number and types of hospital based testing has been cut back.

  • all screening mammography testing, including the Ontario Breast Screening Program, and the High Risk Breast Screening Program, and screening breast MRI are deferred.

  • low dose chest CT scans for a high risk pilot project are deferred.

  • the new Fecal Immunochemistry "FIT" test  program is deferred.

  • If you have been screened already and have been found to have a concern, you will continue to go through the work up process.​​​​

  • Only one physician will be on call for obstetrics, and deliveries per 24h shift.

THINGS I STILL DO IN THE OFFICE FACE TO FACE:

  • WELL BABY EXAMS AND IMMUNIZATIONS

  • PRENATAL EXAMINATIONS

  • ROUTINE INJECTIONS INCLUDING PROLIA.

  • CALL FOR THESE APPOINTMENTS, OR GO TO THE EMAIL drazzopardicovidemail@gmail.com

SO IF YOU ARE MY PATIENT

  • we will offer you the time to have a telephone visit with me to go over ongoing health concerns or answer health related questions.​

  • We will make extensive use of telephone appointments: 

  • If you do not have an appointment and wish to make one, you have two options:

    • you may call the office during the hours posted on our home page.​

    • you may email drazzopardicovidemail@gmail.com  and request a telephone appointment.

    • either way, make sure we have a number and perhaps email to reach you: the email is critical for teleconferencing.​

Please bear with us and be patient as we implement these changes. They are a massive sudden shift in the way health care is delivered as a result of the pandemic.

Here are some HAPPY THOUGHTS.  After the pandemic:

  • screening programs will resume.

  • clinics and hospital will resume normal activities.

  • you may see me at a local restaurant.

  • you will notice that finally, old curmudgeons like me have adopted teleconferencing. You can teach an aging dog new tricks!