Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs and Resources

COVID-19 a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. It is important to try and keep the current situation in perspective. Social media and news outlets can amplify misinformation. Sites that include accurate information include the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ministry of Health Ontario .

*Update April 3, 2020: The Government of Ontario ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses as of 11:59pm on Tuesday, March 24th. On April 3rd the government shortened the list of essential businesses allowed to remain open. The list of essential businesses includes veterinary medicine (urgent care only). View the full list here.*

Follow prevention tips to stay healthy. Washing your hands often and properly is the most effective way to stop the spread of disease. Visit the CDC website for information on how to wash your hands effectively. 

Throughout this ongoing and ever-changing pandemic, the OAVT has been in regular contact with the CVO, OVMA, RVTTC and other stakeholders such as government officials, heads of the veterinary technology college programs, and infection control professionals. The OAVT has been able to share our members’ concerns and experiences, and we are frequently collaborating with these partners to tackle our common challenges.  

Below are some of the most common questions and concerns we have been receiving from OAVT members. OAVT staff have compiled as many resources as possible, and we will update these resources as newer links and information become available. 


 

How can the OAVT's Member Assistance Program (MAP) help me right now?

Practicing stress and anxiety management is important. Seek help from your Member Assistance Program (MAP). You have access to free professional assistance and resources 24/7 – from connecting with a counsellor to learning how to meditate, find confidential help that can help you move forward. The MAP program is FREE to all Ontario RVTs, as well as Retired OAVT Members. 

Your MAP Program can also help with financial planning. Visit their website, https://www.workhealthlife.com/, for resources about financial planning, budgeting and more. You can also call MAP to seek professional financial advice through confidential in-person or telephonic consultations. For more information on how to contact the MAP program, visit the OAVT member portal. Once you've logged in, go to "Member Resources" on the top menu and then click on the MAP workspace. 

 Morneau Shepell, the company that facilitates the MAP program, has also prepared THIS DOCUMENT with helpful tips for our members. 

 


 

How could this impact veterinary medicine in Ontario?

 As of March 24, 2020, veterinary medicine has been deemed essential by the Government of Ontario.  As per OVMA:

"In allowing veterinary practices to remain open, the province has placed tremendous trust in the veterinary profession to operate in a manner that, to the extent possible, prevents the spread of COVID-19. To that end, OVMA has worked with Dr. Scott Weese to develop a guide to practicing companion animal medicine in a manner that protects both veterinary staff and clients during the current pandemic. View the veterinary practice guide."

As per the CVO, a veterinarian may determine the need to temporarily close a facility due to staffing shortages or other uncontrollable circumstances. The CVO expects that veterinarian’s use their best judgement when deciding to alter services. However, this direction could change as the situation evolves. Visit their website for more information about their recommendations as the situation progresses. If the CVO makes any announcements, we will be sure to forward the information to OAVT members.

Additional information can also be found on OVMA’s Coronavirus FAQ Page

For general information about infection prevention and control best practices for small animal clinics, visit the Ontario Animal Health Network's guide here.

RVT Senani Ratnayake of P3 Veterinary Partners discusses veterinary medicine being listed as an essential service in Ontario - and what that means for RVTs in a new video from the OAVT. RVTs must still take care of themselves during this difficult time. Watch her video here.

We recently polled our members for some of their most common questions regarding employment law. Read the FAQ document here. OVMA also recently hosted an employment law webinar. The recording and additional questions can be found on their website here. 

 


 

What if I run into financial issues?

Canada's major banks are promising help to their customers who are directly impacted by COVID-19 and as a result are facing financial challenges. The banks are saying that they are prepared to help you find a solution to meet your needs. Be sure to contact your bank directly to see what help is available.

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. Click here to view the federal government's plans for both individuals and small businesses.

As mentioned previously, your MAP Program can also help with financial planning. Visit their website, https://www.workhealthlife.com/, for resources about financial planning, budgeting and more. You can also call MAP to seek professional financial advice through confidential in-person or telephonic consultations. As a reminder, these services are FREE to Ontario RVTs and Retired members of the OAVT. 

On March 19, 2020, the Ontario government passed legislation to people who need to take time off work due to COVID-19. Here is the latest information from the provincial government on this new legislation: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/employment-standards-amendment-act-infectious-disease-emergencies-2020.html

If an RVT experiences a shortage of work due to the virus, you can apply for support through the Canadian government. As of March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada has announced a new benefit program for those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The benefit provides $2,000 a month for 4 months. Find out more about the benefit and how to apply here.

 As the situation evolves, we will do our best to keep members informed of any government financial programs that become available. 


 

Do you have any resources on how I can keep my kids busy?

With schools closed and kids at home it can be difficult to maintain a routine. See below for some resources and activities for kids.

Activities and Resources for Kids:

 


 

Do we know if coronavirus effects pets?

At present, there is no evidence that horses, other livestock or companion animals can become sick with COVID 19 or spread it to people. Dr. Scott Weese is providing information and updates about this topic on his Worms and Germs blog. Click here to visit his blog.

 One thing that many sources have cited is the importance of having a plan for your animals if you get sick. Read more at Veterinary Practice News.

The Ontario Equine Network has also put together a fact sheet on the importance of have an emergency preparedness plan in place for your horse in case you become sick. View the information here.


 

How can I complete my CE requirements while practicing social distancing?

The OAVT encourages members to take advantage of the many online CE opportunities available for RVTs, while COVID-19 necessitates social distancing. Our online directory contains many distance learning options, and all members have access to the RVT Journal quizzes as long as they are members in good standing and are within an active collection period. If you are unsure whether an online offering is appropriate and meets OAVT CE requirements, you are very welcome to contact CE & One Health Manager Laurie Williams with questions and concerns.

 

 


Other Resources

  • Download LifeLearn’s complimentary COVID-19 Response Kit
  • Creating a Culture of Well-being During a Crisis (Clinician's Brief)
  • atDove.org recently put together a series of videos on properly putting on and removing PPE. Watch them here.
  • Guidance for the Isolation of People with Pets (Centers for Disease Control)
  • The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals, Advice for WSAVA members (WSAVA)
  • List of Local Public Health Units in Ontario:
  • Flattening the Curve: Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives 
  • Social Distancing Information(American Psychological Association
  • Tips to protect yourself and others (Morneau Shepell)
  • Managing Stress and Anxiety (Centers for Disease Control) 
  • Parent and Caregiver Guide: Helping Families Cope with Coronavirus 
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