Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The College of Occupational Therapists of Manitoba is closely monitoring developments in the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. COTM is actively engaged with provincial health officials on this issue, and working closely with other Manitoba health regulatory colleges - as well as the Association of Canadian OT Regulatory Organizations - to keep occupational therapists informed of any regulatory matters that may arise.

Keeping Informed About COVID-19

For the Public

For Health Professionals

It is important that you continue to monitor information about COVID-19 as a citizen and as a health professional.

COTM has been forwarding emails from Shared Health to members but will no longer send these as of March 26th. 
You are urged to regularly (at least daily) visit the webpages below so that you can review timely and critical updates:

COVID-19 - Updated Screening for Staff (April 1, 2020)

Additional resources are now available to support facilities as they implement enhanced staff screening measures.

Enhanced staff screening information for staff:  https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-enhanced-staff-screening.pdf

Screening questions poster/signage for facilities: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-screening-questions-poster.pdf

Staff screening algorithm for points of entry:  https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-staff-triage-process-for-points-of-entry.pdf

Self-isolation letter for staff who do not pass screening: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-self-isolation-and-oesh.pdf

COVID-19 - Contact Tracing for Health Care Workers (April 1, 2020)

Staff must stay home when sick, even if symptoms are mild. We all have a duty to protect our patients, our colleagues and our community. Please watch for the following: recent onset of fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose in addition to other symptoms such as muscle aches, fatigue, headache, diarrhea and vomiting.

If you experience these symptoms, please self-isolate immediately and contact OESH at 1-888-203-4066.

Orders on Business Closures (March 30, 2020)

https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=47337&posted=2020-03-30

Review the media release and orders to determine if your business must close.

Directive Regarding Non-Essential Services (March 22, 2020)

In an effort to reduce community transmission of COVID-19, on Sunday, March 22, 2020, Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, and Lanette Siragusa, Chief Provincial Nursing Officer, issued the directive that all non-essential and elective health services should immediately cease or be reduced to minimal levels.

Allowable exceptions include:

  • emergency services, or
  • time-sensitive services necessary to avert or avoid negative patient outcomes OR to avert or avoid situations that would have direct impact on patient safety.

This directive applies to all occupational therapists, including self-employed occupational therapists.  As always, COTM expects occupational therapists to only practise when they can meet practice expectations.

Employers will determine which services meet the criteria for essential and must be maintained in coordination with this provincial directive. OTs will receive further guidance from their employer regarding their duties.

For those in independent practice, you need to determine if your services are considered essential. Though COTM is not in the position to assign that label we may be able to assist you to make that decision for your practice.

All non-essential and elective health services should immediately cease or be reduced to minimal levels in response to the directive. 

Questions? Contact Sharon Eadie, COTM Executive Director at Sharon.eadie@cotm.ca

Guidance about Home Visits (March 31, 2020)

https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-testing-criteria-and-in-home-care.pdf

Review the Shared Health memo for guidance and direction.

College Operations

As of Tuesday, March 17, the office was closed to visitors. All staff began working from home as of Friday, March 20, 2020.

We remain open for business by phone, email and mail. Please keep the following in mind when contacting COTM:

  • Our staff will be available by phone at 204-957-1214 however it is preferable that you connect with us via email.
  • Our staff directory including direct phone numbers and email .
  • If you have physical documents you need to submit to COTM, please send them by mail. 
  • All COTM committees will meet virtually – please get in touch with your staff contact for more information.

Questions? Contact Sharon Eadie, COTM Executive Director at Sharon.eadie@cotm.ca

Contingency Planning Updates

  • Renewal will continue as usual. Please contact registration@cotm.ca if you have questions about this decision.  However, you are urged to use COTM resources and guides to assist with your renewal rather than contact staff during this time.
  • COTM is monitoring and preparing for the potential need to re-register retired occupational therapists / former members to assist, and to grant Temporary registration to out-of-province OTs as per The Occupational Therapists Act.

COTM Practice Guidance

  • The Manitoba Alliance of Health Regulatory Colleges (MAHRC) has developed a resource that can assist OTs with telepractice. Click on the document below:
  • COTM has worked with a number of other health regulators in Manitoba to develop this telepractice guidance document which we anticipate will answer some of your questions. Keep in mind that it is in place of a document tailored to occupational therapy practice and therefore you are urged to use your creativity and clinical judgement in applying the practice expectations.  For example, we know that OTs often utilize and require others in the client’s home / environment  to participate in the telepractice session so the privacy sections may seem overly restrictive.  We also urge you to explore how you can support clients who do not have devices that allow for more elaborate technology such as laptops with WIFI and cameras.  We do not want to create a situation of reduced access to health services for those without technology. Many of you likely already employ this approach but for those who are embarking on telepractice as a new part of your practice, we do not want to inadvertently limit your sound clinical approaches.
  • As noted in earlier messages, COTM supports the reassignment of occupational therapists. You must monitor that you are being asked by those tasked with this type of planning and that you do not take on tasks or procedures that exceed your level of competency. COTM acknowledges that assisting in emergency health planning and redeployment is part of one’s professional obligations. This is addressed in the COTM Code of Ethics – and reads as: Provide services, when appropriate safety precautions exist, during a natural or humanmade disaster, including a communicable disease outbreak, consistent with the profession’s commitment to client well-being.
  • The Manitoba Ombudsman has posted guidance regarding response to health information access requests under The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).  Visit https://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/info/phia.html

Other Relevant Resources

CAOT's COVID-19 updates and resources for occupational therapists

https://www.caot.ca/site/pt/COVID-19?nav=sidebar
CAOT's COVID-19 Practice Support for OTs