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COVID-19 and Emerging Respiratory Viruses

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) 

Medical Practitioners Occupational Safety and Health (mPOSH)

In response to COVID-19 in April 2020, the Physician Occupational Safety and Health (POSH) service was made available to VCH medical staff including physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, and midwives; it has also served other non-medical staff healthcare workers on several occasions.

More recently, the reduction in COVID-19 demands has positioned POSH to spend more time on other occupational health concerns of medical staff.

As COVID-19 cases continue to decline across VCH, particularly among our well-vaccinated medical staff, POSH is taking on more occupational health responsibilities to continue to improve services for medical staff - who, as mostly independent contractors, are not covered by the Provincial Workplace Health Call Centre. Working closely with Public Health, People Safety and Wellness, and Infection Prevention and Control, we continue to support medical staff with:

  • Infectious disease contact tracing and exposure management: tuberculosis, invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS), meningococcal disease, Haemophilus influenzae type b (HiB), Varicella Zoster virus, blood and body fluid exposure management, etc. 
  • Workplace accommodation advice, if requested.
  • Participation in workplace voilent incident follow up, as needed.
  • Respirator fit test tracking and notification.
  • Vaccine tracking and notifications for COVID-19; likley to be extended to seasonal influenza.
  • Sharing aggregated data and scientific expertise related to medical staff occupational health.

We continue to be staffed by physicians and medical students, with hours adjusted as demands require, but with the ongoing commitment to prompt responses to all concerns.

New name and email address

To better reflect the professionally diverse community it serves, the POSH name is changing to Medical Practitioners Occupational Fasety and Health (mPOSH) service. 

mPOSH's new e mail address will be

What mask to wear when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19

POSH - COVID-19 Phase 1 Data

POSH - 6 Key things You Told Us

Guidance for N95 Respirator Use & Fit-Testing Medical Staff

Guidance for N95 Respirator Fit-Testing Residents

Recommended samples types for COVID-19 testing are:

NEW - February 4, 2020: Ongoing testing data evaluation by the VCH Medical Microbiology laboratory has demonstrated that the yield of trachieal aspirates and NP swab for COVID-19 testing in patients at VCH is similar. As such, the following steps are now recommended with regards to COVID-19 testing in intubated patients and patients with tracheostomy tubes:

  • Please collect an NP swab for COVID-19 testing if clinically indicated.
  • Please refrain from routinely collecting both a tracheal aspirate and a NP swab for COVID-19 testing.
  • Collect a tracheal aspirate only if clinically indicated.
For any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact the Medical Microbiologist on call at 604-875-5000.

Notificaton Protocol on Discharge or Transfer: COVID-19 Acute Care Inpatient Case and Close Contacts

July 4, 2022 - Update on COVID-19 Testing and Additional Precuations on Transfer from Acute Care to Long-Term Care (LTCF) or Hospice

Patients/residents admitted to a VCH facility with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should be restricted to their room and not participate in group activities until COVID-19 is ruled out or as directed by IPAC.

If transfer is medically indicated:

  • Provide clean clothes/gown/bedding on leaving their room  
  • Assist patient/resident with donning a medical mask and performing hand hygiene on leaving their room
  • Designate a staff member to accompany patient/resident
    • Accompanying staff member should use Droplet and Contact Precautions when in patient room, then remove personal protective equipment (PPE) on exit from the room and perform hand hygiene. Don clean PPE for transport.

 Adapted from PHAC (2020) Infection prevention and control for coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Interim guidance for acute healthcare settings

Pandemic Planning 

SOURCE: COVID-19 and Emerging Respiratory Viruses ( )
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