Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy
April 14, 2020 11:51 am
Toronto Public Health vice-chair Dr. Howard Shapiro questions Toronto’s public health response to Covid-19. He asks the city to explain the process it used to approve the city’s first official case.
Last week, Toronto was one of three Ontario municipalities hit by a major community outbreak of the new coronavirus, after a couple who returned from Italy became infected while in a local hospital.
But it was the first time Toronto has had a confirmed case of the virus, and the first time the city’s public health department has received a request it was unable to meet as they rushed to set up a process to approve the development of a new medical facility in the city to house close to 200 critically ill patients as early as next week.
The incident began when a couple went to the emergency department (ED) at St. Michael’s Hospital last month, where they were told that they would be quarantined and placed in a private room at the facility while the hospital determined whether they should be transferred to a ward in the hospital or released.
The woman refused to go to the private suite, and the couple was taken back to the hospital by hospital security.
But while the woman was still in the hospital, the couple learned that the hospital had taken them to a private suite at St. Michael’s so they could isolate themselves while they awaited the hospital’s decision on whether to hospitalize them with Covid-19.
The woman then decided to go directly to the emergency department, where she was advised that she could go into the private suite.
The woman insisted to the hospital’s doctor that she wanted to go into the private suite, but the hospital put her on a gurney to take to a private room in the hospital.
The woman then refused to go to the private room, and was taken off the gurney to the hospital’s room, where a hospital security guard placed the woman in the private room.
Meanwhile, the couple, who had the full support of hospital staff, was still being cared for by the Toronto Public Health (TPH) in a separate private room.