The number of cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canada is increasing and it is anticipated this will continue for some time. The College recognizes that decisions regarding client care should be left to the professional judgment of members based on the day to day risk levels published by the experts and the specific needs of both members and clients.
Members may obtain up to date information from official websites including:
- Ontario Ministry of Health (www.Ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus)
- Public Health Agency of Canada (www.canada.ca/en/public-health.html)
- Government of Canada (www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html)
With regard to client services members are encouraged to consider the following measures at this time:
- Screening clients over the phone before scheduling or confirming appointments for any symptoms and travel history that may be related to COVID-19;
- Asking clients with fever, cough or difficulty breathing to make appropriate alternate arrangements for appointments, including distance appointments or rescheduling appointments for a later date;
- Posting signs in reception area identifying concerning symptoms and asking clients to identify themselves if they are experiencing any of them;
- Relaxing appointment rescheduling and cancellation policies until such time that risk has passed, e.g. by waiving cancellation fees;
- Making tissues, a garbage can, and hand sanitizer (or a handwashing station) available in your setting;
- Ensuring high-touch surfaces (such as doorknobs, light switches, phones and sink faucets) are cleaned with a disinfectant regularly, or even between client appointments;
- Engaging in proper handwashing technique between sessions with clients; and,
- Seeking medical care early if you yourself are experiencing symptoms and providing your health provider with information about travel.
During this time members may wish to consider whether there are telepsychology options which may be more appropriate for you and your clients. The College cannot recommend or endorse any particular tele/videoconferencing service. Members should ensure that, to protect the transmission of personal health information, the chosen service provides end to end encryption and complies with Ontario privacy legislation requirements.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit: