SARS in Toronto!

  1. Hey I just saw on the news that a thousand people have been quarentined at a hospital in Toronto!
    Do you all know anything about this?

    I hope our Toronto members are alright.

    Is this virus realy something to be worried about or is it kind of being hyped like the shark attack thing?

    Paul
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  2. 216 Comments

  3. by   sunnygirl272
    Thursday, March 27, 2003
    Outbreak prompts mass quarantine
    But officials say it's unlikely severe acute respiratory syndrome will spread to London.

    By Free Press staff and news services


    TORONTO -- Thousands of Canadians have been asked to "quarantine themselves," wearing masks and in some cases staying home over fears a deadly SARS outbreak contained to the Toronto area would spread even further.

    News of an extended quarantine came hours after Health Minister Tony Clement announced he had declared a provincial "health emergency" to try to stop the spread of SARS.

    Toronto's medical officer of health said everyone who has visited the east-end Scarborough Grace Hospital since March 16 should remain in their homes for 10 days since that visit.

    Their family members may go to work or school, but must wear a mask when at home and in contact with those who are at risk of infection.

    "We're talking about over a thousand (people). This number will be in the thousands," said Dr. Sheela Basrur.

    "This is an incident of unprecedented scope and magnitude."

    But the associate medical officer of health for Middlesex-London said it's unlikely SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, will spread to London.

    "Now that people are aware of how it spreads, it can be curtailed," said Dr. Bryna Warshawsky.

    The greatest possible threat -- a direct spread from Toronto -- is reduced by the isolation efforts, she said.

    No SARS cases have been reported in the London area, Warshawsky said. The Middlesex-London Health Unit issued an advisory last week to doctors about the outbreak.

    The alarming comments from Toronto officials came as protective face masks flew off store shelves yesterday as anxious Torontonians sought to shield themselves against the outbreak.

    The severity of the SARS threat was driven home when Clement announced he was using the province's emergency powers legislation to activate an action group to try to stop the spread of the ailment.

    There have been 28 cases of SARS reported in Canada, including three deaths. All, except one case in Vancouver, have been in Ontario.

    Dozens of Toronto households have been quarantined and a Scarborough emergency room was closed this week, as was a nearby elementary school when three kindergarten pupils began feeling ill.

    A command centre will be set up and staffed 24 hours a day to co-ordinate all information from hospitals and health workers.

    The government has designated the illness a reportable, communicable and virulent disease under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which lets officials quarantine anyone.

    About 25 Toronto residents showing symptoms of SARS, many of them health-care workers, have been quarantined. Public health officials warn the total quarantine count could be in the hundreds.

    On Tuesday, eight more probable cases emerged in Ontario, marking a substantial jump in suspected Canadian cases.

    The SARS outbreak has sickened hundreds in China. It was carried to Toronto by Sui-chu Kwan, returning from Hong Kong. Kwan died of the disease March 5.

    Health Canada has urged Canadians planning trips to the most affected parts of Southeast Asia - Hanoi, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Guangdong province in China and Singapore -- not to travel.
    http://www.canoe.ca/LondonNews/lf.lf-03-27-0002.html
  4. by   oramar
    This article says "no cases in London"? I could swear I saw an article here that says there has been a case or cases in London. I wish I could remember where I saw it.
  5. by   NurseGirlKaren
    I think they're referring to London Ontario, an approx. 3 hr drive from Toronto.
  6. by   hapeewendy
    I live and work in toronto, I have just been called about our SARS plan at my hospital
    each hospital in toronto is sending all the patients that can be discharged home
    and my unit being a respiratory medical unit is sending nurses to work in a "SARS" unit , our maternity floor is being moved to make room for the SARS Patients
    I have been asked to volunteer to work there this week , I declined as I have lupus and although I know I may have to work there as we already have 2 clients with suspected SARS in my hospital, I have a real problem with readily putting myself in this situation.
    I attend another hospital for my BSCN courses, and we had to sign in to even get to the class, only to find out that it was cancelled mind you
    but I consider this extremely serious, as do the people I work with.
    we have to wear masks and gowns and gloves with each patient as a precaution and have to sign in and out of the hospital each time we go to work.
    all visitors are prohibited with the exception of those visiting their children or the critically ill
  7. by   hapeewendy
    oh and quite a few nurses are under quarantine at another hospital for suspected SARS, so far they are stable but the city is crippled with suspected and confirmed SARS cases
    there is a SARS clinic for patients to be tested at one of the nearby hospitals , our EMT workforce is operating at about 60% as several of the EMT's have been exposed to SARS and , like the public who have been exposed, are being sent home and having to stay at home for at least 10 days.
    The redcross is involved, sending packages with masks, thermometers and other medical supplies to thousands of people at home...
    and I will be working on the SARS unit on Monday night ...
    (apparently many of the nurses have not volunteered - perhaps this sounds selfish to some ,but this city really is whipped up into a frenzy, and nurses are people to, when we see our friends and co workers who are normally healthy being isolated and seriously ill, its enough to make you wonder....... Myself I did not refuse to work there for any selfish reason, I just have a weak immune system, but it turns out that a lot of nurses are refusing to work there, so as it stands I've been delegated to the unit for next week, I'm kind of nervous although public health keeps drilling it in our heads that we are not at risk, seeing what I've seen and hearing what I have about some of my fellow nurses getting ill is enough to make me worry)
  8. by   Little One2
    It has become a problem here is Toronto. But Wendy, I think you are taking a risk in helping in the SARS unit due to your health. It is unfortunate and understandable that people will not want to volunteer. Nurses are humans and need to take care of themselves as well.
  9. by   NurseGirlKaren
    Wendy, I'm glad you posted. I've been worried about you. Forget wearing a mask when interacting with every patient; I would be wearing a mask 24/7 except for when in my house.

    Now I realize this is a public health emergency, and desperate times call for desperate measures. However, in your first post you said you were asked to volunteer to staff SARS unit and declined; in your second post you said that you've been delegated (with a weakened immune system to start). Not to scare you...I'm sure you're doing a good enough job of that yourself! Public health keeps drilling it into your head that you're not at risk; meanwhile, "co-workers that you're used to seeing healthy are now isolated and seriously ill". You have a chronic medical condition; that doesn't exclude you from being delegated?

    Can you voluntarily quarantine yourself AT HOME? I wouldn't be too keen on staffing the SARS unit if I were you. I know, I'm a cold hearted *****, but I'm sorry, I'll be honest and admit that I didn't enter nursing for overly altruistic and "greater good" reasons. Yep, sad but true. I know you said many nurses have not volunteered to staff the unit (yourself included), but somehow you were delegated? Was this after all the healthy nurses were delegated first?

    I'm sorry. I just feel for ya and I know it's a really scary situation for everyone. Now get used to that mask!!

    Hang in there.
  10. by   hapeewendy
    thanks for thinking of me, I really dont want to feed into the hype or anything, but as someone who rarely stresses about anything , I am feeling huge amounts of stress about this one..
    nurses will be delegated to this unit if no one volunteers, and since no one is really volunteering - and I dont blame them, I dont think anyone who refuses to willingly put themselves in this situation is out of line, I think we are being quite human to tell you the truth, and I dont fault anyone for not volunteering ...
    we are a scared bunch of nurses, although we know that these patients need care as much as anyone else does, the outbreak, and frequency to which health care workers are being exposed and becoming ill is quite frightening..
    I felt terrible at school today , it was chaotic, line ups of people , they put the WRONG profanity MASKS out too, which I mentioned to the VP of the hospital who I saw walking around to check on things btw (yeah it annoyed me, and at that point I figured , what the heck, I'm gonna say my part) sure enough the people asking us the questions and guarding the doors had the correct masks on , but everyone else just got regular old duck bill masks - wont do diddly squat for SARS transmission, anyway back to my point ,if there was one, oh yeah , some ppl seem to think that nurses with families and children etc shouldnt have to staff the SARS unit because of the danger of transmission
    so here I sit with no kids and a crappy immune system and the expectation that I can go to the SARS unit on a moments notice..
    I'm gonna have to think this through, but right now I'm just worried about everyone ...
    I usually get peeved when ppl blow things out of proportion,but being here , seeing the situation at the hospital, has me upset.
    the public still does not seem to understand the importance of this issue, I'm doing my part and explaining the situation as best I can with the limited info I have , but really they dont get it.....
    a woman was blasting nurses on the news tonight because she couldnt go see her husband post-op , and although I understand her frustration wholeheartedly, I didnt realize that bedside nurses were the authority on prohibiting visitors from the hospital (though sometimes we should be the authority!)
    anyway, thanks again karen and lil one , ur good pallies
    Last edit by RN2be on Apr 13, '03
  11. by   TX Guy
    I'm glad ot hear from you WENDY I am worried about you.

    I'm also not convinced that a mask will pervent a person from getting the virus.

    Though I am sure that you have the skills and knowledge to protect yourself as well as possible.

    I'l be thinking about you alot and anyone else in your position.

    Talk to ya tommorow.

    P
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    ((((((((((((((((((((((((WENDLES))))))))))))))))))) )))) You are in my thoughts. This is truly a VERY frightening situation. I send you my best and hope for the best in the outcome of this outbreak. Truly concerning.....
  13. by   angelbear
    Wendy. I can feel for you. I am being treated for "unconfirmed" lupus and I would be scared to death. I have only had 1 possible flare and it put me down for months. I am absolutely terrified of getting sick again. I would hope you could be at the bottom of the list of nurses who get delegated. I know as a nurse you care and that these folks need care but I would think your facility would not want to take the chance that you may get sick alot quicker and easier than most others. I will be praying for you. I hope it all works out for you. Stay well.
  14. by   nurseman
    This issue just hit home for me. I found out before coming to work tonight that a close friend of mine in quarantine. She was working in the ICU and they had a SARS patient on her unit. Thankfully she was not providing care. I'm planning to drop a case of beer and a bottle of jagermeister off on her porch and run. Just to keep her spirits up and help sterilize her blood.


    Wendy please keep your self safe. They wouldn't even let you stay on nights. Don't put your self in a situation that would endanger your weak immune system.


    If you do decide to do it. Give me instructions to your porch and I'll drop off a pail of what ever fruity drink you want.

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