PrEP Clinical Services Update March 16, 2020

At this time, no new PrEP clinic referrals will be booked. Visits for new patients will be postponed. Dr. Chittle will provide mostly virtual care (by phone, and / or teleconference) to Sanguen PrEP patients. If you have a follow-up appointment at Sanguen or ACCKWA for PrEP, it will take place at the scheduled time, by phone. Anyone with a booked appointment will be contacted directly.

COVID Response Message

As we navigate our way through these challenging times, we all play a role in helping to maintain the health and safety of all members of our community. Sanguen Health Centre is committed to a collaborative, evidence based response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while prioritizing the well-being of our staff, volunteers, and those who use our services.

COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease – 2019) is an infection new to humans, first emerging in the latter part of 2019. Fortunately, it appears that most people who are in contact with someone with COVID-19 will not become infected themselves, and the large majority that do become ill will experience only a mild respiratory illness from which they will quickly and fully recover. However, the elderly and those with certain medical issues or compromised immune systems can become severely ill, require hospitalization, and are at risk of dying from this novel viral infection. There is a very real risk that our health care system will be overrun by the number of people requiring care, as has been seen in other parts of the world.

As a result, we are all now in the middle of an unprecedented response to a new pandemic infection, with the goal of slowing its spread so we can maintain our ability to care for those will need our already-strained hospital resources. Fortunately, we appear to be in a position in our community to be successful with this response, and to achieve this goal, if we all participate and do our part to help ourselves and those around us.

There are some simple measures to help limit the transmission of this virus, to protect ourselves, those close to us, and those who we serve:

  • Wash your hands, properly and effectively. Don’t assume you know how, check this out and be sure you do [external Youtube link: https://youtu.be/o9hjmqes72I ].
  • Be aware of what you touch, and when you need to clean your hands.
  • If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • If you have symptoms, stay home and away from other people. Know who to call to get advice as to whether you should seek medical attention for your symptoms – most people with COVID-19 won’t need to see a doctor.
  • Cough into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Limit your forays out into the community, and of course avoid large gatherings. The concept of “social distancing” is now well established, and is an important principle. Try to maintain some distance between yourself and others at all times.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Seek out and follow the advice of experts – our local, provincial and national Public Health authorities will have to most up to date information and guidance. Find and share reliable information.

As we move forward, we will strive to continue to provide services as comprehensively as we can. We recognize that those we serve are among the most at risk for exposure to and severe effect from COVID-19.

At this time, we will continue to maintain the following services:

Clinics (Hep C, Hep B, HIV, HIV PrEP, etc.)
Community Health Vans
Community Primary Care Bus
Consumption and Treatment Services
WINS Program
other outreach and support services as available

In order to do so, we will continually re-evaluate our ability to provide services safely and effectively, in accordance with advice and guidance from Infection Control experts, Region of Waterloo and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Departments, MOHLTC, Public Health Ontario, and Public Health Agency of Canada. A number of measures will be taken to help ensure safe service delivery:

  • use of phone calls and telehealth in lieu of in-person visits except when unavoidable
  • screening of each patient by phone prior to appointments
  • advising patients to stay home if symptomatic, or giving direction to specific COVID-19 clinical services as appropriate
  • screening patients and other visitors on-site, including having visible signage reminding people of appropriate preventative measures
  • frequent and enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high traffic area and frequently touched surfaces
  • appropriate disposition of anyone utilizing services who may have symptoms of COVID-19
  • working with our community partners in a collaborative effort to maintain service delivery

We will have links on our website of useful resources, and information about COVID-19 that we will use to guide our evolving response, and we will be continually updating our plans for service delivery.

This is a time of much uncertainty and concern, and we recognize now more than ever the importance of coming together with a common goal of continuing to serve those in our community that are now left potentially even more at risk and disconnected. This is an opportunity to look beyond ourselves, and to tying to stay connected to those who need our help the most.

We would like to thank everyone for their continued support as we work through this – together.

How Can I Access HIV PrEP?

You can access HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in Waterloo at the Sanguen PrEP Clinic.

If you are interested in HIV PrEP, you can book an appointment by calling: 519-603-0223.

To learn more about PrEP, visit:

http://thesexyouwant.ca/prep/reasons-to-get-on-prep/

https://www.catie.ca/en/fact-sheets/prevention/pre-exposure-prophylaxis-prep