Note from Michael, Dec. 18, 2021 | Comments on COVID situation

From the desk of Dr. Michael Gardam, Health PEI CEO

Hi Everybody:

As some of your know, I have continued to be involved in some Ontario hospitals COVID response while being here.  One of the helpful things about that is that I have learned a huge amount through the repeated waves of infection in Ontario that PEI has thankfully managed to avoid.  Some key things have emerged over the past 20 months:

  • In reviewing hundreds of staff infections, the vast majority were acquired in the community, not at work.  This makes sense because you generally are not walking around in full PPE at home or at the grocery store! Healthcare workplace outbreaks obviously occur but they pale in comparison to community outbreaks.
  • When healthcare outbreaks have occurred, the transmission was often staff to staff rather than patient to staff.  We are good about wearing PPE with patients but take it off in break rooms etc.  You obviously can’t eat and drink while wearing a mask—but this is also the time when you are likely to get infected.  Being mindful of where you are and who you are around when you take your mask off is very important.
  • We need to create space in our hospitals for potential COVID admissions, but we need to time it for when we need it.  Our Ontario experience was that we did this far too early by cancelling surgeries etc., which caused its own harm to those patients.  We are already moving patients to long term care etc. and will be assessing every day whether we need to go to essential services. 
  • We will likely need to call on staff over the holidays but like creating space, we need to do so as minimally as possible and when we need them, not to have them waiting around for cases that have not yet arrived.  

We are facing our first real COVID wave on PEI over the coming week or two—but this is very different from what is was like when we faced our first wave in Ontario in March 2020. 

Back then, we were scrambling for PPE, had no idea if treatments were available, had no vaccine, had no idea if public health measures would work, had no idea how effective mass masking would be, had no idea of the epidemiology or true hospitalization/mortality rates etc.  

Nobody wants to have a wave of COVID, especially now over the holidays, and after 20 months of this.  That said, I am far more confident that we will get through this now than I was in March 2020. 
 
I have said many times that we have a great team and collectively we will get through to the other side of this. 

Please send questions, comments, or submissions for these notes to emclean@gov.pe.ca, subject line “Notes for Michael”.

Last Updated
Sat, 12/18/2021 - 15:50