March 24, 2020
As of 11:59 on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 as part of the declaration of emergency to protect the public, all non-essential business and services have been ordered by the premier to close. The government of Ontario has identified a list of essential workplaces that can remain open, including health care and seniors and social services.
There are two sections that are relevant to Registered Psychotherapists as they consider if and how they should practice:
- Businesses that provide products and/or services that support the health sector or that provide health services, including mental health and addictions and counselling supports
- Health care professionals providing emergency care including dentists optometrists and physio-therapists
This means that you should use your professional judgement to determine which of you clients require ongoing care. The directive from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, includes some useful parameters that you may wish to consider in determining where and for whom your care is essential.
CRPO is strongly advising that all registrants move to providing only remote care. We have posted resources and advice on Implementing Electronic Practice to support you in making this move.
If you determine that you need to provide any in-person care, you are encouraged to review resources related to:
- Ministry of Health’s Guidance for the Health Sector
- COVID-19 Guidance: Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting
- And in particular the information related to infection control precautions. Public Health has posted instructions for Cleaning and Disinfection in Public Settings that you should observe for any practice settings where you continue to see clients.
We would like to remind any registrant who has traveled or been exposed to a known or probable case of COVID-19 infection that government and public health directives are that you must self-isolate for 14 days. Instructions on how to self-isolate have been posted by Public Health Ontario. Not abiding by these requirements exposes your clients to undue risk and – if CRPO was to receive a complaint or report about it – may be disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unbecoming conduct.