In the news

2020

December 3

Our Health Counts highlights challenges Indigenous people face accessing health care in Thunder Bay, Ont.
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
A new study, coordinated by Anishnawbe Mushkiki, an Aboriginal health centre in Thunder Bay, Ont., highlights some of the challenges Indigenous people face, when accessing health care in the city.

Ottawa’s COVID-19 success ‘really unique’ globally
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
Ottawa’s success at reducing its COVID-19 case count — and keeping it relatively low — over the past two months may be unique in the world, say Canadian epidemiologists.

Canadian invention offers personal protection
CTV News Toronto
Interview with Dr. Joao Rezende-Neto
A new device designed by Toronto doctors is helping to keep health care workers safe while caring for COVID-19 patients.

November 30

Thunder Bay Indigenous population far larger than thought?
NetNewsLedger
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Data released from a survey focused on Indigenous adults’ and children’s experiences with the health care system in Thunder Bay show communities deeply rooted in their cultural traditions and identities, while facing several systemic barriers that adversely impact their health and wellbeing.

November 29

How testing helped Cornell University become a model of COVID-19 prevention
CBC News The National
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
At the start of the school year, Cornell University implemented a strategy of regular testing and robust contact tracing on campus. The plan was expensive, but it’s prevented any major COVID-19 outbreaks at the New York institution.

Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton linked to systemic factors, experts say
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
When Kelly Lopes learned back in the spring that the Ontario government was ordering her teenaged children to stay home from school for their own safety but expected them and their parents to continue going to work, fear and anger set in almost immediately.

November 28

New Hindu COVID-19 Task Force aims to make public health messaging more accessible in Peel
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Anju Anand
A group of doctors has formed what is called the Hindu COVID-19 Task Force to ensure Peel Region communities understand public health messaging about the novel coronavirus.

Alberta offers even more data on COVID-19 deaths
Toronto Sun
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Alberta continues to offer even more nuanced data about persons who have died from COVID-19 and the underlying conditions they were facing.

Calvin Little died alone this fall at 63, his past a mystery. His passing has raised questions about early deaths among those who have lived on Toronto’s streets
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
When Calvin Little died, no one noticed for a while. For the last two years of his life, the 63-year-old Torontonian lived in a nondescript east-end apartment — alone, save for a rotating cast of animals he would watch for periods of time.

November 27

Type O blood linked to lower COVID risk, taking Vitamin D unlikely to help
Reuters
Comments by Dr. Joel Ray
A large study adds to evidence that people with type O or Rh−negative blood may be at slightly lower risk from the new coronavirus.

November 26

Gender violence crisis belongs to all of us
Hamilton Spectator
Comments by Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi
Dr. Annalise Trudell has witnessed the pandemic deepen fault lines across society. As a gender-based violence (GBV) researcher and manager of education, training and research at ANOVA — London, Ontario’s women shelter and sexual assault service provider — Trudell, has seen first-hand the unique challenges and complications brought on by COVID-19.

November 24

Let’s make Canada a global leader in COVID-19 treatments
The Globe and Mail
Commentary by Drs. Arthur Slutsky and Fahad Razak
We are in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19, and in the past few weeks we have reached two ominous milestones: the highest daily case numbers since the pandemic onset and crossing the ignoble marker of 10,000 Canadians who have died from the disease.

November 23

Toronto begins a four-week lockdown — its second of the pandemic — as COVID-19 cases surge
CNN
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
People lined up for groceries in Toronto this weekend as a shutdown loomed for Canada’s largest city — the second time since the pandemic began.

November 20

Ontario’s pandemic response and what needs to change (video)
CTV Your Morning
Interview with Dr. Farah Mawani
Ontario needs to work with communities to curb the spread of COVID-19.

November 19

COVID-19 statistics don’t reflect the reality for Indigenous people living in Canadian cities
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
By now, we know quite a few things about the relationship between COVID-19 and vulnerable people in our midst.

Role of younger children in COVID-19 transmission still unclear: researcher
Global News
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
The director of the Applied Health Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto says it’s far too early to definitively say that children don’t transmit COVID-19 the same way as adults.

November 18

Launching Of The New Comprehensive Stroke & Neurology Clinic In The Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
About Insider
Q&A with Dr. Atif Zafar
In Canada, stroke occurs every nine minutes. Believe it or not, we lose two million neurons every single minute we wait out before seeking care. Imagine if all stroke patients can make to the hospital as soon as the stroke strikes, the world will be a better place.

Ontario needs to rethink importance of prevention, individual communities in COVID-19 guidelines, epidemiologist says
Waterloo Chronicle
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
Cases of COVID-19 have surged across the province since the Ontario government introduced its new colour-coded framework to control the virus. Now, epidemiologists worry that “keeping Ontario safe and open” may be putting business interests ahead of community health.

November 17

COVID-19 stats by neighbourhood (video – story starts at 4:20)
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
A Toronto-based research group has found 30 GTA neighbourhoods have a troubling trend. They have the highest rates of people testing positive for COVID-19 in our region.

November 16

‘A very dire situation.’ Brampton’s northeast corner tops list of 30 GTA neighbourhoods with alarming rates of COVID-19 infections
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
An area in the northeast corner of Brampton has a “shocking” 19 per cent COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rate double that of the U.S. — and is leading a list of 30 Greater Toronto neighbourhoods that are seeing alarming numbers of people testing positive for the virus, new data shows.

Health experts push for ‘aggressive’ strategy called #COVIDZero to stamp out coronavirus
Global News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Health experts who have been critical of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s approach in curbing the spread of COVID-19 are now banding together to push for a more ‘aggressive’ strategy that would see more restrictions for a longer period of time.

November 15

Doctors push aggressive strategy to get COVID-19 cases down to zero
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Canada needs a new and aggressive strategy to reduce COVID-19 cases to zero, a group of doctors and infectious disease experts is urging, as the rates of infection reached record highs in various parts of the country over the weekend and hospitalizations and deaths continued to rise.

‘Tipping point’: Strained hospitals brace for rising COVID infections
Toronto Sun
Comments by Dr. Matthew Muller
Toronto hospital officials are fearful that the rising tide of COVID-19 infections will swamp their already-strained systems.

November 13

Don’t let COVID-19 defer the diabetes care you need
Healthy Debate
Commentary by Dr. Tara Kiran
As COVID-19 cases continue rising across the country, it’s important for Canadians to listen to public health officials and defer non-essential outings, avoid closed and crowded spaces and wear a mask or face covering. But one thing should not be postponed: A visit with your family doctor.

Toronto intensive care units prepare for onslaught of COVID-19 patients
CBC News The National
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
New COVID-19 modelling shows that Ontario ICUs could be overwhelmed in as little as two weeks. One unit gives The National an inside look at how its operations are bracing for the strengthening storm.

November 12

Canadian researchers tout ‘game-changing’ method to treat alcohol poisoning
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Laurent Brochard
Canadian researchers say they’ve developed a game-changing method to treat alcohol poisoning — and it involves literally breathing alcohol out of the body by hyperventilating.

November 10

St. Michael’s Hospital develops a tool to track homeless patients — with hopes of detecting COVID-19 outbreaks early
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider and Dr. Muhammad Mamdani
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, the emergency room of St. Michael’s Hospital was so inundated with the homeless that they put patient beds into old storage rooms.

Ontario on track for more than 2,200 opioid deaths this year
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Tara Gomes
Drug supply changes, physical distancing measures and the curtailing of social services during the COVID-19 epidemic have led to a dramatic spike in overdose deaths in Ontario, with more than 2,200 people anticipated to be dead in 2020.

Why COVID-19 cases are surging across Canada and what needs to be done
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Six weeks ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country was at a “crossroads” in the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with cases spiking in regions that were practically untouched by the virus in the first wave, it appears we’ve taken a wrong turn.

Opioid-related deaths spike in Ontario during pandemic, new report finds
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Tara Gomes
A new report suggests Ontario is facing a 40-per-cent spike in opioid-related deaths that can be largely attributed to collateral damage from the COVID-19 pandemic.

November 9

Ottawa begins shipping test kits to measure COVID-19 exposure across Canada
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Canada has begun its largest effort so far to determine how many people in the country have had COVID-19.

November 8

First trust, then treatment
CBC Radio – The Sunday Magazine
Interview with Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah
Our series profiling some of Canada’s unsung healthcare heroes past and present continues with Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah. She’s a psychiatrist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who works primarily with patients who experience psychosis

November 4

HIV self-test will remove barriers that keep people from getting diagnosed: scientist
CBC Radio As It Happens
Interview with Dr. Sean Rourke
Canada has approved its first self-test for HIV, and fewer undiagnosed Canadians will “fall through the cracks” as a result, says scientist Sean Rourke.

November 3

Canada approves first HIV self-test in long-awaited move to reduce screening barriers
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
Federal regulators have approved the first HIV self-test in Canada in a long-awaited move that experts have called critical to reaching people who don’t know they have the virus.

Pharmacies facing flu shot shortages the one year people are anxious to roll up their sleeves. Is this a missed opportunity?
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
With a major pharmacy chain suspending its Ontario flu shot program because of supply problems, experts warn that the province may be missing its chance to boost vaccine uptake in a critically important year and beyond.

Canada approves first HIV self-test kit (video)
CityNews
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
Canada has approved the first HIV self-testing kit. Brandon Rowe with how the kits work and how they will reduce barriers to screening.

November 2

Why Ontario hospitals are full to bursting, despite few COVID-19 patients
CBC Toronto
Comments by Sonya Canzian
Some of Ontario’s largest hospitals are nearing or exceeding full capacity even before flu season and the second wave of COVID-19 bring an expected surge in new patients.

Ontario’s COVID testing numbers are down, but positive cases are up. Experts are asking: Who are we missing?
National Post
Comments by Dr. Joel Lockwood
If you close your eyes and picture the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, what do you see? A patient on a ventilator? A doctor wrapped in PPE? Maybe a long line at a testing centre, the patients all six-feet apart, staring at their phones, trying to not to cough?

November 1

How Canada could learn lessons from Europe’s 2nd wave of COVID-19
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Europe and the introduction of new lockdowns to prevent health systems from being overwhelmed could be instructive for Canada.

Hospitals see rise in moral distress
The Catholic Register
Comments by Dr. Michael Szego
“I knew I had to quit when my 15-year-old daughter would say, ‘Mom, don’t go to work and cry again.’ ” That quote was just one data point in Francis Maza’s PhD thesis for his Doctor of Ministry at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College.

November

Physician helps build model to project local COVID-19 numbers
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Sharmistha Mishra
Infectious disease physician Dr. Sharmistha Mishra experienced the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as a flashback. Everywhere she looked were echoes of Ebola and her work in Sierra Leone.

October 30

Why experts aren’t declaring victory yet despite fewer COVID-19 deaths so far in Ontario’s 2nd wave
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
As Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case counts have risen this fall, those with an eye on the data may see reason for optimism in the lower numbers of deaths.

October 29

Inside Ontario’s overwhelmed labs: How lingering issues and mistakes caused massive COVID-19 testing backlog
National Post
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Over the summer, as the rest of the country opened up and slowed down, and the specter of COVID-19 began to fade, life inside Ontario’s large medical laboratories continued to accelerate on a kind of perpetual motion pace, building speed and building size without ever slowing down, no matter what came in, who showed up or whether anyone could find any room for the new machines.

World Stroke Day
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Atif Zafar
Today marks World Stroke Day. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Canada. We hear from experts in the field about what we know about this condition and a stroke survivor shares her story.

Machine learning makes progress in care at Ontario hospitals
Canadian Healthcare Technology
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
Dr. Verma is part of a multi-disciplinary team at the hospital working on an early warning system called CHARTwatch, designed to reduce mortality and improve the quality of care of patients on the general internal medicine ward.

October 28

COVID-19: ces travailleurs de première ligne ont accompagné des aînés (en français)
Radio-Canada ICI Toronto
Comments by Dr. Samuel Vaillancourt
Quatre travailleurs dans le milieu de la santé témoignent de leur expérience pendant la pandémie.

October 27

Grim milestone: Canada marks 10,000 COVID-19 deaths as country battles second wave
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
On Tuesday evening, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s official count of COVID-19 deaths ticked past 10,000, with 28 newly reported deaths in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta pushing the tally to 10,001.

How COVID-19 is widening disparity in children’s developmental potential
Toronto Star
Commentary from Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
After much debate and expert consultation, schools opened in September in the hopes of allowing students to access educational opportunities. Nearly two months in, we see that the children at highest risk are not in class.

Doctor who helped people meditate through pandemic fears diagnosed with stage 4 cancer
CBC Radio – The Current
Interview with Dr. James Maskalyk
An ER doctor says being diagnosed with a rare and serious form of cancer has been like “coming out as human.”

October 26

The real COVID-19 numbers
Newstalk 1010
Interview with Dr. Amol Verma
What should we be REALLY looking at when we get the daily COVID numbers from the province.

Toronto’s first stationary Indigenous-led COVID-19 testing centre opens
CityNews
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Toronto’s first stationary, Indigenous-led COVID-19 assessment and testing centre is now open.

Treatment of cancer patients in Ontario amid pandemic
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Sam Elfassy
Ontario’s hospitals are facing a concerning rise in advanced cancer patients. The shut down of non-urgent healthcare services and screening of patients, in the early days of the pandemic, is to blame.

October 24

Ontario shut down non-urgent health services in the spring. Now hospitals are seeing many more patients with advanced cancers
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Sam Elfassy
Cancer surgeons in Ontario are reporting a sharp rise in the number of people coming to hospital with advanced cancers, an unintended consequence of the sudden shutdown of non-urgent health-care services during the spring wave of COVID-19.

October 23

“The most important moment of a person’s life is the moment of death,” says chaplain and Buddhist monk (audio)
CBC Radio
Interview with Jeff Braff
Jeff Braff, a hospital chaplain in Toronto, has a unique view of the pandemic. Each night he’s at St. Michael’s Hospital, he visits the families of patients who want his comforting advice, partly guided by his Tibetan Buddhist training. But Braff is also a former infectious disease epidemiologist, who worked in public health in California. He’s been able to look at the pandemic through both a spiritual and clinical lens.

Indigenous-led COVID-19 testing centre opens in Toronto
NOW Magazine
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
The city’s first stationary Indigenous-led COVID-19 testing centre is now open. The centre was established as a response to the disproportionate effect the virus has had on Indigenous communities. It offers case management, contact tracing, outreach support and referral services to Indigenous community members.

Pitching in: Couple donates $1-million to St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto
The Globe and Mail
Sean Zahedi learned the importance of philanthropy while growing up in Iran. Mr. Zahedi’s grandfather and father were active in a variety of charitable causes and they always encouraged others to get involved. The family helped build schools and worked with health care providers to ensure that local hospitals had the right equipment.

Toronto still relying on COVID-19-positive patients to do their own contact tracing (video)
Global News
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Mayor John Tory says help is on the way, but doctors say it’s taken far too long.

October 22

Local estrogen therapy for vaginal atrophy can start before or after age 60
Medscape
Comments by Dr. Christine Derzko
Treatment with low-dose local estrogen therapy (ET) to improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy may start before or after age 60, according to a post-hoc analysis of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in the US and Canada.

Frailty, advanced age tied to less time at home after cancer resection
Medscape
Comments by Dr. Jennifer Watt
Elderly, frail and low-income adults may have less time at home after cancer resection than patients who are younger and more affluent, a Canadian study suggests.

Key Ontario advisor on COVID-19 (audio)
CBC Radio
Interview with Dr. Peter Jüni
Open lines with Dr. Peter Jüni, one of a trio of specialists leading Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, a group of 35 experts advising the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

October 19

Majority of gun fatalities in Ontario are suicides by older men in rural areas, new study finds
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. David Gomez
The majority of gun-related deaths in Ontario are suicides by men over the age of 45 who live in rural areas, a new study reveals.

More than half of Ont. gun deaths are from self-harm, majority in older men in rural areas, study finds
CTV News
Comments by Dr. David Gomez
A new study has found that more than half of gun-related deaths in Ontario are from self-harm, and most often occur to older men living in rural areas.

Majority of gun-related deaths in Ontario are suicides, new report shows
CBC News
Comments by Dr. David Gomez
Over a 15 year period, more than two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in Ontario were suicides that impacted mostly older men living in rural areas, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Monday.

October 17

Long wait times for flu shots (video)
CBC News Network
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
To avoid a ‘twindemic’ health officials are telling Canadians to following guidelines for the pandemic, and to get a flu shot this year. But demand is high and appointments are booking up quickly.

October 16

Hiring enough inspectors can have fewer, ‘more targeted’ business closures (video)
BNN Bloomberg
Interview with Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Dr. Irfan Dhalla of Unity Health Toronto joins BNN Bloomberg for a look at the latest COVID-19 case numbers and impact of measures being taken.

October 15

Testing delays worsen, hurting efforts to control COVID-19 spread in Canada
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Multiple health regions across the country are missing target turnaround times for COVID-19 test results, hampering efforts to keep the spread of the virus under control.

October 14

Expert in contact tracing blames provincial leadership, not health units, for shortfalls
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Pulling back on contact-tracing efforts limits a vital aspect of trying to contain the spread of the virulent COVID-19 virus, say specialists.

October 13

Choosing the best option for hip surgery
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Amir Khoshbin
In recent years, a growing number of patients have been choosing the direct anterior approach. And it’s certainly true that during the first few weeks and months after the operation these patients tend to get better faster compared to those who have other types of hip replacement surgery.

October 12

URBAN HERO: Dr. Zamin Ladha goes above and beyond during pandemic
Toronto.com
Profile of Dr. Zamin Ladha
Going the extra mile is just what those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic do, says Toronto pediatrician Dr. Zamin Ladha.

URBAN HERO: Nurse Michelle Webster does her part for COVID-19 effort
Toronto.com
Profile of Michelle Webster
Cystic fibrosis wasn’t going to stop registered nurse Michelle Webster from doing her part during the COVID-19 pandemic.

October 9

Coronavirus cases on the rise again in Ontario nursing homes
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Ashley Verduyn
A surge of COVID-19 infections in Canada’s most populous province is spreading to elderly residents of nursing homes, with the number of facilities declaring an outbreak tripling over the past month.

Canadian doctors call for stricter gun control laws (video)
Global News
Interview with Dr. Najma Ahmed
Dr. Najma Ahmed, the Co-Founder of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, on why gun violence in Canada is a public health issue.

October 8

Ontario faces ‘runaway train’ of COVID-19 cases if families don’t scrap Thanksgiving gatherings, doctor warns
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Ontario could be “on the brink of disaster,” a Toronto epidemiologist said Wednesday, as officials continued to urge families to scrap Thanksgiving gatherings amid soaring COVID-19 cases.

October 6

This guy knows how to avoid a worst-case scenario second wave this winter
Toronto Life
Interview with Dr. Amol Verma
His name is Amol Verma, and he runs the Covid-19 Hospital Analytics Lab at U of T

October 5

Private clinics allow people to bypass COVID-19 testing line for a fee
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Danyaal Raza
Private medical clinics are offering COVID-19 tests to Canadians willing to pay a fee to circumvent lengthy lineups at government sites and long waits for results from laboratories.

The elephant in the Zoom: A paediatrician writes about his own internalised racism
CBC Metro Morning
Interview with Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
Ripudaman Minhas, a doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital, talks about his essay confronting his own internalised racism and how it has changed him.

October 3

Why a 2nd wave of COVID-19 is more dangerous than it looks
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
At first glance, Canada’s second wave of COVID-19 is looking a lot different than the first wave.

Many experts advised Ontario for months to boost COVID testing capacity. Sources say they just didn’t want to spend the money
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Ontario’s pandemic response feels frantic. The province’s COVID-19 testing backlog reached 90,513 on Friday morning, or more than double the province’s daily testing capacity. The daily case count hit 732, the second daily record in a week, though that was boosted by belated cases from the spring.

October 2

Angels to the rescue: Competition rewards innovators
Healthy Debate
St. Michael’s Angels Den is featured
As COVID-19 spread across the world early this year, Drs. Darren Yuen and Kieran McIntyre watched with mounting concern as reports out of China showed lung scarring and lingering breathing problems in supposedly recovered patients.

October 1

St. Michael’s Hospital’s 2020 Angels Den competition crowns new winners (video)
Global News
Interview with Dr. Darren Yuen and Dr. Kieran McIntyre
Dr. Darren Yuen and Dr. Kieran McIntyre talk about winning St. Michael’s Hospital’s annual ‘Angels Den’ research competition.

October

Lessons from the COVID response for people experiencing homelessness – an acute care perspective
OHA Health System Discovery
Commentary by Dr. Sahil Gupta
Many care providers feared what would happen when COVID-19 made its way to crowded shelters and drop-in centres. People experiencing homelessness face a high burden of chronic disease, including diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and often lack the ability to safely isolate and shelter in place.

How the pandemic inspired a primary care model for addressing social needs
OHA Health System Discovery
Commentary by Drs. Noor Ramji, Gary Bloch, Deborah Kopansky-Giles and Katie Dorman
The COVID-19 pandemic brought social and health inequities into stark relief. Challenges to health posed by poverty, racism, a lack of adequate housing, and insecure employment quickly became evident to front line health providers.

Hybrid cath lab at St. Michael’s Hospital is optimized for catheter-based procedures
Canadian Healthcare Technology
Comments by Dr. Neil Fam
A new state-of-the-art cath lab equipped with a Discovery IGS 730 angiography system from GE is the first step in a plan to bring cardiac care at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto into the 21st century.

Cost-effective imaging that protects patients and health care workers from COVID-19 exposure
Hospital News
Q&A with Dr. Shobit Mathur
How can we keep COVID-19 patients and their care teams safe while taking chest scans to monitor their wellbeing?

Data for Good: AI in Healthcare
Evanta
Interview with Dr. Muhammad Mamdani
In 2016, Dr. Mamdani and a handful of team members metaphorically popped champagne on their flight back to Toronto from Hong Kong. They had finalized and received their donor funding from a philanthropist located there.

World-first cardiac procedure offers new treatment for high-risk patients
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Neil Fam
A world-first occurred at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto when Drs. Neil Fam, Mark Peterson and Géraldine Ong performed a catheter-based tricuspid valve replacement through the femoral vein in a patient’s leg.

September 30

Synthetic cannabinoids linked to negative respiratory health, death in older adults with COPD, study finds
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Nicholas Vozoris
A new Canadian study has found that cannabinoids, a class of prescription pills that contain synthetically-made chemicals found in marijuana, may be linked to an increase in negative respiratory health and even death among older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Health Canada has given the green light to a rapid test for COVID-19 that could be deployed to long-term care homes and schools to take pressure off provincial testing systems.

Poorer preparation, slower response to COVID-19 led to more deaths in Ontario long-term-care homes, study finds
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Residents of long-term-care homes in Ontario were at much greater risk of dying during the first wave of COVID-19 compared to their counterparts in British Columbia because B.C’s health-care system was better prepared and responded more effectively than Ontario’s, according to a new study.

Fewer COVID-19 deaths in B.C. than Ontario long-term care credited to funding, policy
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Quicker, more decisive action against COVID-19 in British Columbia is one of the reasons the province has suffered far fewer long-term care deaths than Ontario, a new study says.

September 29

Amid surge in COVID-19 transmission, physicians warn Ontario’s testing, tracing plans fall short
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran and Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Amid a surge of coronavirus transmission in Ontario, some physicians warn the province’s plan to ramp up efforts to prevent new infections will fall short unless further measures are taken to clamp down on community spread.

COVID-19 app needs Manitoba social media push, ‘no app, no entry’ strategy in bars, says expert
CBC News Manitoba
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
The success of Manitoba’s adoption of a COVID-19 exposure alert app may hinge on how the province gets the word out, and whether local restaurants and bars get on board with a “no app, no entry” rule, says an Ontario expert.

More concerns over provincial testing backlog
CityNews
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Standing in line waiting to get tested isn’t the only thing that’s slow these days when it comes to COVID-19. Faiza Amin reports on the testing results backlog and what the province is trying to do to tackle the issue.

September 28

It is possible to end chronic homelessness if we act now
The Globe and Mail
Commentary by Dr. Stephen Hwang
As a physician and researcher on homelessness, I’m a witness to the intersecting health crises that affect people who don’t have adequate housing. COVID-19 is only one of them.

Close dine-in at restaurants and bars before it’s too late, urges Toronto doctor
CBC Radio As It Happens
Interview with Dr. Dr. Larissa Matukas
People want to make safe choices to protect themselves against COVID-19, but the Ontario government isn’t making it easy, says Dr. Larissa Matukas.

September 25

Scarborough’s Providence Healthcare gets patients back on their feet
Toronto.com
Comments by Abigail Kavanaugh
Earlier this year, Bill Hyman underwent spinal cord surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital. It was his second spinal cord surgery in approximately 10 years — both operations addressed his chronic pain and limited mobility.

Closing strip clubs: you could say Ontario’s pandemic plan has no clothes, but it’s a start
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
First they came for the strip clubs and I said nothing, other than hoping the employees receive financial support. Strip clubs get a lot of attention when they spread COVID-19, because there are naked people involved, but the workers there are people. And in a pandemic, governments should support people.

September 24

Ontario restricts asymptomatic testing for COVID-19
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Many people without symptoms would be refused COVID-19 tests under new rules Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday in an effort to reduce lineups at testing centres and backlogs in the province’s labs.

Group of Ontario doctors calls for new indoor dining, gym restrictions due to spike in COVID-19 cases
Global News
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
A group of Ontario doctors is calling on the provincial government to implement stronger restrictions amid a recent rise in coronavirus cases in the province.

September 23

How Ontario could slow its growth in COVID-19 cases
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Ifran Dhalla
With Ontario reporting its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since early May on Tuesday, there are mounting calls for the government to take more actions to slow the spread of the virus now, in an effort to avoid a full-scale lockdown later.

September 22

Shaming young people as party animals ignores their actual COVID-19 risks
HuffPost
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
Not a week goes by without seeing media coverage and public health messages taking young Canadians to task for partying.

September 21

Test reset: Why experts say you shouldn’t show up for COVID testing if you are asymptomatic
National Post
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
In the first wave of COVID-19 the goal of testing was to cast the net wide, to find hidden cases and get a feel, Queen’s University’s Dr. Gerald Evans says, “for how broadly based the infection was in our society.”

All-star scientists compete in Angels Den for $450,000 in prize money for medical research
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Doug Campbell, Dr. Muhammad Mamdani and Dr. Jiwon Oh
It starts with a kernel of an idea on how to improve the health of Canadians. Behind it, scientists who are researching new ways to help patients through discovery and innovation. They have a concept, but they need critical funding to expand on it. That’s where Angels Den comes in.

September 19

Cases are spiking, but is COVID-19 becoming less deadly in Canada? It’s complicated
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
When Ontario released its daily COVID-19 figures on Friday, the topline number landed like a punch to the gut. There were 401 new cases, the most reported in a single day since June 7.

September 18

Why saliva testing for COVID-19 in Canada won’t be a panacea for long lineups any time soon
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Canadians in several provinces face long lines for a swab to help diagnose COVID-19 as school and workplaces open. While new testing technologies could help, doctors say they won’t be a silver bullet.

Toronto eyes extra safety measures after ‘troubling’ jump in new COVID-19 cases
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Celebrating Labour Day may have helped drive an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections in Toronto this week, the city’s health authority said Friday, as it announced 142 new cases and warned of more increases in the weeks to come.

September 17

COVID-19 testing site for Indigenous people to open in Toronto
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
A COVID-19 testing site is opening up for Indigenous people in Toronto, just in time for the cold and flu season.

Toronto police pushing to expand mobile crisis team to respond to mental health calls
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Sivi Joachim
When nurse Sivi Joachim and Const. Paul Regan arrived at Old City Hall one afternoon last month for a call, they saw a woman holding a large knife near the top of the front steps. She appeared to be in crisis, and was drawing a crowd of onlookers.

September 14

Drop in London naloxone distribution during pandemic raises concerns
CBC News London
Comments by Dr. Tara Gomes
The number of free naloxone kits given out each month by London region pharmacies has fallen by a quarter since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, raising concerns there could be a corresponding increase in the number of opioid-related deaths, according to an epidemiologist who studies opioid use.

Brampton has emerged as one of Ontario’s COVID-19 hotspots, but experts urge caution on where to lay blame
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
With Ontario’s new daily COVID-19 infection rate roaring back to levels not seen since June, Peel Region has emerged as one of the epicentres of the virus, with the highest proportion of cases anywhere in the province — the lion’s share in the city of Brampton.

COVID-19 cases rise in Canada, schools to put pressure on testing system
Reuters
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Canada’s three biggest provinces are seeing a pick-up in new COVID-19 cases, as officials do little to slow the virus beyond urging people to be more careful, and doctors warn school reopenings will boost demand for testing.

September 12

Toronto COVID-19 test centres see big lineups, and some people turned away, as many residents return to work and school
Toronto Star
St. Joseph’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is mentioned
COVID-19 test centres across the city are reporting a spike in demand over the past two weeks, with reports of long lines, and some people even being turned away.

Rexall and Providence Healthcare celebrate Grandparents Day
Toronto.com
Comments by Nicole Nakoneshny
The Providence Healthcare Foundation and Rexall are partnering for the fourth straight year, celebrating Grandparents Day with a $100,000 donation in support of elderly patients and residents.

Anxiety and stress take toll as pandemic hits six month mark
CBC News The National
Comments by Dr. Amy Cheng
Six months into a global pandemic, stress and anxiety take their toll. Through the eyes of three women, we examine the mood of the country and how to be resilient in such a trying time.

September 11

Here’s who’s eligible for a COVID-19 antibody test in Ontario
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
The province has decided who will be eligible to get a COVID-19 antibody test through OHIP, laying out limited circumstances for its use beyond research.

September 7

Winter is coming. Canada needs to stop untraced community spread first.
The Globe and Mail
Commentary by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Canadian winters are long, long seasons, primarily lived indoors. With COVID-19 cases at low levels, patios open, and friends and family gathering in parks and backyards, this looming reality is easy to forget.

September 4

Providence Healthcare garners national attention for COVID-19 rehab unit
Toronto.com
Comments by Shawn Brady
Yanira Polanco’s mother, Yanira Rosa Gevara de Casco, was in the hospital for nine weeks with COVID-19. Two of those weeks were in a new rehabilitation unit reserved for patients who have the virus at Providence Healthcare.

September 2

Cheap, widely available steroids significantly reduce the risk of death for severely ill COVID-19 patients
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. John Marshall
Cheap, widely available steroids significantly reduce the risk of death for severely ill COVID-19 patients, according to a new international study that reinforces the findings of an earlier British trial and confirms that more than one type of steroid can save lives.

A second coronavirus lockdown in Canada? Experts discuss the likelihood
Global News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Like many things coronavirus-related, the chance Canada will need to tighten restrictions again is hard to predict, according to disease experts.

September

Exploring microaggressions in pediatric education and how everyone can play a role
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Shazeen Suleman
A patient is told their name is hard to pronounce. A doctor tells another doctor they speak English really well. While doing rounds, a resident is asked if she eats ‘strange foods’. These are examples of microagressions – behaviours or remarks rooted in unconscious bias, which can be related to elements of a person’s identity such as race, gender, religion, sexuality or physical or intellectual ability.

Creating new opportunities during COVID-19
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Marcus Burnstein and Dr. Shiva Jayaraman
If you ask Drs. Marcus Burnstein and Shiva Jayaraman about working through COVID-19, they’ll tell you that challenging environments often create new opportunities. That’s how they explain the way physicians from St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital came together to unify cancer care.

August 31

Gender pay gap persists in medicine because of systemic biases, study says
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Female doctors in Canada consistently earn less than their male colleagues because of systemic biases that pervade the medical profession, a new analysis suggests.

Forget flattening the curve—what about eliminating COVID-19 entirely?
Maclean’s
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
On July 3, the day Atlantic Canada launched its “travel bubble,” Prince Edward Island had enjoyed more than nine weeks with no new cases of COVID-19. Test results were pending for 48 people, but the 27 confirmed cases that had surfaced since the pandemic began had recovered without the need for hospitalization. Regarded rosily, it seemed the island was enjoying its own little bubble, effectively eliminating the novel coronavirus within its boundaries.

August 27

The end of the HIV crisis is within our grasp. We must apply the pandemic spirit to achieve it
The Globe and Mail
Commentary co-written by Dr. Sean Rourke
Imagine having easy access to a home self-test for COVID-19. With instant results, you’d be able to make informed decisions about your health and decide whether you should stay in or go to work.

August 25

‘This whole battle for access to medication is literally a fight for my life’
Healthing.ca
Comments by Dr. Anne Stephenson
Cystic Fibrosis Canada (CFC) is calling on Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Government of Canada to fast-track the application and approval of a precision medication for the rare disease. This comes amid concerns that changing regulations to the treatment approval process have dissuaded pharmaceutical companies from working with the federal government.

August 21

COVID-19’s impact on racialized communities
CTV News Channel
Interview with Dr. Andrew Pinto
The COVID-19 pandemic has helped pull the veil away from the existing inequalities in our society. Black, Indigenous & other racialized communities have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, and in social and economic consequences accounting for a disproportionate number of overall infections.

August 19

The post-pandemic future: All mental health services will be covered under OHIP
Toronto Life
Commentary by Dr. Thomas Ungar
We’ve moved past the peak of the first wave of COVID-19 in Canada, but the repercussions of the pandemic spread far beyond the lives it has taken.

August 12

Virus hastens new tower at St. Michael’s Hospital
Canadian Facility Management & Design
Comments by Mike Keen and Margaret Moy Lum-Kwong
A much anticipated, and unfinished, addition to St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto was fast-tracked to keep pace with a fast-moving pandemic.

August 7

Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
CBC News The National
Comments by Dr. Thomas Ungar
Two mental health professionals weigh in on how Canadians are handling mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 6

St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation Urban Angel Golf Classic Auction
Citytv Breakfast Television
Interview with Dr. Carolyn Snider
St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation canceled its annual Urban Angel Golf Classic tournament, due to COVID-19. Now, to raise crucial COVID-19 funding for the hospital, they are taking the golf tournament virtual and launching an online auction offering one-of-a-kind prizes and experiences that all Ontarians can bid on!

August 5

Domestic vaccine maker says it’s waited for federal approval for human tests since May
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Mario Ostrowski
A Canadian company is telling the government today that its trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine on animals completely blocked the virus, but it must conduct human trials to know whether it has found a possible cure for the pandemic.

August 4

New clinical guidelines for obesity focus on health rather than just a number on a scale
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
In a dramatic shift, new Canadian clinical guidelines for obesity — the first in almost 15 years — advocate for doctors to focus on a patient’s overall health and lived experience rather than solely on their weight.

August 3

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lower the birth rate. Here’s why that matters
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely lower Canada’s already declining birth rate, and that has implications for everything from how competitive it will be for a child to get a spot on a soccer team to how healthy the Canada Pension Plan will be in 2050, economists say.

August

Lessons learned from the first wave of COVID-19
Hospital News
Commentary by Dr. Tim Rutledge
What will the second wave be like? It’s a question we are all asking as we face the coming cold and flu season.

Specialized COVID-19 rehab and recovery program
Hospital News
Comments by Caroline Monteiro and Laura Chiriac
Patients who require orthopaedic and amputee rehabilitation still require these specialized services – even if they have COVID-19. Rising to meet this need, Providence Healthcare, a hospital known for its excellent rehabilitation services, opened a brand new COVID-19 positive rehab and recovery program in April designed to care for COVID-19 positive patients.

Virtual health care: A win-win for patients and care providers
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Navika Limaye
In semi-retirement, 65-year-old Norma keeps busy with a roster of hobbies including choir, Barbershop quartet and Scottish country dancing. But when COVID-19 shut down the province, Norma, a patient at St. Joseph’s Health Centre’s family health team, had no option but to slow down.

Staff provide wellness supports to team caring for inpatients with COVID-19
Hospital News
Comments by Kate MacWilliams, Molly Schoo and Sandy Santos
When a team of health care workers at St. Joseph’s Health Centre was redeployed to care for some of the hospital’s patients with COVID-19, it was the team’s wellness that their leaders were focused on.

A look inside a hospital laboratory during a pandemic
Hospital News
Comments by Jeffrey Companion and Yvette Williams
Although often hidden from view, laboratory staff play a crucial role in determining whether someone has COVID-19.

July 31

Monk lives out the Buddha’s teachings as a hospital chaplain
Broadview
Interview with Jeff Braff
Jeff Braff is a chaplain, or spiritual care provider, at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. He’s also an ordained Buddhist monk and a retired infectious disease epidemiologist. He is currently pursuing his doctor of ministry at Regis College, researching how spiritual care providers can better support hospital staff who work in palliative and intensive care units and frequently deal with death. He also still works as an epidemiologist part time on a research ethics board.

July 29

What Is intersectional feminism and why it matters
Health.com
Comments by Dr. Malika Sharma
Intersectional feminism is a term coming into the forefront as we encounter a myriad of social justice issues in today’s society. But how does it differ from ‘capital F’ feminism?

Everything You Need to Know About PCOS
Flare
Comments by Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
Chances are that if you’re a person with ovaries, you’ve heard about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; more commonly known as PCOS.

Medical experts led by SickKids release new back-to-school recommendations
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Sloane Freeman
SickKids has released new proposed guidelines for reopening schools in Ontario come September, including recommendations like staggered lunch times, no large assemblies, and mandatory masks for older students.

‘COVID-19 is still here’: Toronto officials wary as indoor bars, restaurants set to reopen in Stage 3
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Toronto officials and medical experts say the city must not let its guard down even as the Ontario government allows it to reopen indoor bars and restaurants as new COVID-19 infections in the city dwindle.

July 28

Provinces, territories urged to follow B.C. and investigate systemic racism in health care
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Provinces and territories are facing calls from Indigenous experts to take British Columbia’s lead and consider launching investigations of systemic racism in health care institutions across the country.

July 27

Do hotel isolation centres work? Researchers are looking at how key COVID programs are affecting marginalized people
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Michelle Firestone and Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi
When the pandemic hit, and COVID-19 infiltrated Toronto’s shelter system, the city set up isolation centres in hotels, where those experiencing homelessness can safety self-isolate and recover.

An OB-GYN’s guide to having a safe and healthy pregnancy during COVID-19 (video)
The Marilyn Denis Show
Interview with Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
Pregnant women have lower immune systems in general, so taking extra precautions is a good idea.

COVID-19 (and HIV) disparities are about racism, not race. This nurse explains how
The Body Pro
Q&A with LaRon Nelson
The 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) was held virtually for the very first time and featured plenty of discussion about the current direction and future prospects for HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

July 22

Spike in Ontario cremations could reflect underreporting of COVID-19 deaths
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Nearly 3,000 more bodies than usual were cremated in Ontario during the height of the first wave of COVID-19, according to coroner’s office data that provide the first glimpse into how the pandemic has affected overall mortality in Canada’s most populous province.

Are Toronto, Peel Region, and Windsor ready to move to Stage 3?
Global News Morning
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Dr. Prabhat Jha, U of T global health professor and scientist at Unity Health Toronto, discusses whether Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor are ready to move to Stage 3 amid lifting lockdown restrictions.

Young people are causing COVID-19 spikes. But are they solely to blame?
Global News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
All eyes are on bars and restaurants in Canada — particularly in Ontario — as cases of the novel coronavirus rise among young people.

July 21

The pros and cons of ‘batch testing’ for COVID-19
CTV News Your Morning
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
While pooling samples would certainly increase testing capacity, there are concerns about its impact on individual results.

July 19

Flattening the curve of COVID-19 took its toll on people recovering from other serious conditions
Toronto Star
Comments by Shawn Brady
The dramatic measures that were needed to flatten the curve have carried consequences, touching every corner of the health-care system, as the rush to save lives took precedence over everything else.

July 17

Providence creates a hospital without walls in Scarborough
Toronto.com
Comments by Sherry Qu and Dr. Drew Heyding
For those experiencing disadvantage, accessing health care can be a challenge. Providence Healthcare is providing important support, bringing health care directly into the Oakridge community through an innovative model working directly with primary care physicians.

July 16

Serology study estimates less than 1 per cent of B.C. was infected by first coronavirus wave
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Less than 1 per cent of British Columbians were infected with COVID-19 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study by researchers at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

July 14

Is it safe for grandparents to meet new babies now?
Today’s Parent
Q & A with Dr. Tali Bogler
As many Canadian cities and provinces ease restrictions, and some households pair up to form “bubbles,” is it safe for Grandma and Grandpa to hold their newest grandkid now?

July 13

The ‘new normal’ as people return to work
CBC Toronto
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
As much of Ontario moves to stage three this week, more and more people will be heading back to the office. But they may also be wondering what kind of safety precautions are in place, and what the new normal will look like.

July 12

Will Covid eventually become like the annual flu?
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
It’s true that many infectious diseases follow a seasonal pattern, with infection rates going up and down as the weather changes.

July 11

In Canada, the cases of COVID-19 and deaths are declining. Here’s the story behind the numbers
National Post
Comments by Dr. Mark Downing and Dr. Irfan Dhalla
In late June, doctors at the Toronto General Hospital were still placing near-death people with COVID-19 on ECMO, or extra corporeal membrane oxygen machines, medicine’s most extreme form of life support.

July 10

How do contact tracing apps work, and what do I need to know about them?
CBC Radio
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Dr Prabhat Jha, Director of the Centre for Global Health Research, at St Michael’s Hospital, and Professor of epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto answers questions about contact tracing.

July 9

Should we be testing for COVID-19 after death? An Ontario man thinks so
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
An Ontario man says he wants to see more post-mortem COVID-19 testing, after a Windsor hospital denied a swab test request following the death of his grandmother.

Eliminating COVID-19 cases in Canada will exact too heavy a toll on society, health experts say
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Some public health and infectious disease experts are pressing for governments in Canada to shift to minimizing, not eradicating, COVID-19 while allowing society to resume functioning.

July 7

Health experts press Ottawa for a more ‘balanced approach’ to tackling COVID-19 pandemic
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Some of Canada’s top public-health experts say the country’s focus on wiping out the coronavirus is posing “significant risks to overall population health,” as other priorities take a backseat to the pandemic.

July 6

Will COVID-19 become like the annual flu?
HealthyDebate.ca
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
It’s true that many infectious diseases follow a seasonal pattern with infection rates going up and down as the weather changes. For instance, influenza cases tend to peak during fall and winter months in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

July 3

Toronto’s COVID-19 divide stretches beyond regional boundaries
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Toronto’s northwest corner — which has been hardest hit by COVID-19 — is part of a larger hot spot of vulnerability that extends beyond the edges of the city, suggesting a broader regional cluster of high infection rates that defies boundaries and is exploiting socioeconomic inequalities, according to experts and public health data.

June 28

Toronto’s COVID-19 divide: The city’s northwest corner has been ‘failed by the system’
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
When Toronto Public Health released its map of neighbourhoods hardest hit by COVID-19, for people in the city’s northwest it felt like déjà vu.

June 26

When Toronto doctors wanted to ease pandemic pregnancy fears, an Instagram star was born
Toronto Star
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
In the final weeks of March, after the WHO declared a pandemic and as thousands of patients in New York City hospitals battled COVID-19, Dr. Tali Bogler saw panic in the faces of her pregnant patients.

Is Ontario having a mission-accomplished moment with COVID-19?
TVO.org
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
June has been a good month in Ontario’s battle against COVID-19. The numbers are striking, no matter how you look at them. On June 1, there were 801 people hospitalized with the disease in Ontario; as of yesterday, that number was 256.

June 25

Is it safe to go back to the dentist?
New York Times
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
Dentists are donning head-to-toe protective equipment, switching to laser instruments and taking other steps to reassure patients that it’s safe to get back in the chair.

Song of thanks strikes the right chord
The Catholic Register
Interview with Shawn Brady; comments by Jacqueline Janelle
Shawn Brady sees the heroes every day he walks into Providence Healthcare in Toronto’s east end, and has for years. But he’s got a new appreciation of just how heroic these people are since COVID-19 struck, particularly at long-term care facilities where the toll has been highest.

June 23

Will my hot flash set off a temperature check? Your COVID-19 questions answered
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Mark Downing
Can COVID-19 spread through sweat? The answer is a hard no from our experts.

Preventing dangerous blood clots from COVID-19 is proving tricky
ScienceNews
Comments by Dr. Michelle Sholzberg
For some severely ill COVID-19 patients, the struggle to take in enough air is not only due to having fluid-clogged lungs. The quest for oxygen also is stymied by a plethora of blood clots.

Rising rates of COVID-19 in children, adolescents spark concerns about back to school plans
The Globe and Mail
Commments by Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak
Rising rates of COVID-19 in children and adolescents in Canada are prompting concerns about the spread of disease and highlighting the need for answers about how well children transmit the virus as daycares and schools reopen.

June 22

Capital funding of health care in Canada is critical, yet declined in last 20 years
SCIENMAG
Comments by Dr. David Klein
Capital funding of health care, used to build new hospitals, redesign or upgrade existing facilities and invest in new technologies, has declined in Canada over the last 20 years, according to an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

WHO reports highest single day record of world COVID-19 cases
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Over the weekend, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the highest single-day record of world-wide COVID-19 cases. We ask our health experts to weigh in on this latest development.

June 21

They didn’t want to go to rehab. But some COVID-19 survivors have a long road back to normal
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Ashley Verduyn
Ashley Comrie just wanted to go home. It was late May, and the 37-year-old had just spent three terrifying weeks at Toronto General Hospital, fighting a COVID-19 infection that landed her in the intensive care unit, where she narrowly avoided intubation. Lying on her stomach, hooked up to oxygen, she had felt as if she were underwater, breathing through a straw. Death seemed a distinct possibility.

June 20

Scientists aren’t waiting around for governments to launch antibody testing
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Canadian scientists counting on antibody testing to learn more about COVID-19 and how to fight the respiratory illness aren’t waiting for the government to act — increasingly, they’re forging ahead themselves.

June 19

A special thank you to health care workers (video)
CityNews
A Toronto man living with Down Syndrome used his 38th birthday to say a big thank you to healthcare workers at Providence Healthcare.

A patient’s experience at the ED during COVID-19
Hospital News
Interview with Dr. Nadine Laraya
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many people may have fears about seeking medical attention at hospitals – that they might expose themselves to the virus, or be an unnecessary burden on the health system. Paravaneh Laraya learned those fears aren’t necessary.

 

June 17

How COVID-19 cases among the homeless overwhelm St. Mike’s Hospital
Toronto Star
Op-ed by Dr. Carolyn Snider
One year ago, I called a Code Orange at St. Michael’s Hospital during the parade following the Toronto Raptors NBA championship victory. A large influx of patients arrived at our emergency department after a shooting in the crowd. When the number of patients in our hospital exceeds our resources, calling a Code Orange establishes a “command centre” that initiates a co-ordinated response and increases resources needed to help us manage the crisis.

June 14

COVID-19 was killing him. How a last-resort intervention brought this Toronto man back from the brink
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Karen Burns
The phone call Irena Veronese was dreading came on a chilly spring evening.

How ‘superspreading’ helps drive the coronavirus pandemic
Global News
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
Around 30 people recently attended a family gathering in the Fraser Health Region in B.C. and 15 of them left infected with the novel coronavirus, according to the province’s top doctor.

June 13

Stories of the front line: The people, groups and businesses making a difference
CBC Toronto
Featuring Evan Lee, Emily Speelziek, Mirela Savic and Laura Chiriac; Comments by Caroline Monteiro
Patients at Providence Healthcare — a Scarborough facility specializing in rehabilitation — who require orthopedic and amputee rehabilitation can still access specialized services even if they have COVID-19.

June 11

‘Alarm fatigue’ may be the reason you’re washing your hands less
CBC Radio – The Current
Interview with Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak
Are you finding it tough to keep up with changing COVID-19 guidelines? Something called “caution fatigue” could be to blame.

Toronto Trailblazers 2020: Janet Smylie is tracking COVID-19 in Indigenous communities
NOW magazine
Profile of Dr. Janet Smylie
For over 25 years, Janet Smylie, one of Canada’s first Métis doctors, has made it her mission to bring awareness to the injustices faced by the Indigenous community and to foster progress in the country’s health-care system.

June 10

Can my fan or air conditioner spread coronavirus? Your COVID-19 questions answered
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Mark Downing
From sweat to fans to air conditioning, CBC News answered some hot summer questions.

COVID-19 antibody tests remain elusive in Canada
Yahoo News Canada
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
In March, a few days after returning home from Vancouver, I started feeling sick. First, it was sneezing and a runny nose, which lasted two days. Then my symptoms morphed into fatigue, aches, chest congestion, digestion issues and no appetite.

June 9

COVID-19 rehab and recovery program opens at Scarborough’s Providence
Toronto.com
Comments by Caroline Monteiro and Laura Chiriac
Patients who require orthopedic and amputee rehabilitation still require these specialized services — even if they have COVID-19. Rising to meet this need, Providence Healthcare, a hospital known for its excellent rehabilitation services, opened a brand new COVID-19 positive rehab and recovery program in April designed to care for COVID-19 positive patients.

 

June 7

Will summer slow the coronavirus pandemic?
Global News
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
Summer is just around the corner, bringing hot weather, humidity and hopefully, lots of sunshine. And as we face the prospect of a pandemic summer, researchers have been digging into whether the nice weather might affect the spread of the novel coronavirus, and what that means for COVID-19 in Canada.

June 5

Toronto doctors take COVID-19 testing to the people in effort to contain pandemic
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Whenever the assessment centre at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital confirms a new case of COVID-19, Jeff Powis and his colleagues pop the patient’s address into Google Maps and look for patterns.

June 3

Race-based data
CBC Ottawa Morning
Interview with Dr. Andrew Pinto
Should the federal government be collecting more race-based data on people?

First large-scale survey in Canada will study antibodies specific to COVID-19
CTV News
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Unlocking the extent of COVID-19 in the country might be 10,000 pin pricks away.

June 1

Blood kits to be sent to 10,000 Canadians to survey extent of COVID-19 in Canada
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
With 10,000 pinpricks, Prabhat Jha hopes to find out what no one else has been able to discern: How many Canadians have already been affected by COVID-19?

10,000 Canadians to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies in hopes of understanding immunity
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha

After a person has developed antibodies against COVID-19, how long does that immunity last?

May 29

Examining hot spots for community spread across Ontario
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
Most of Canada has successfully reined in the coronavirus. The exceptions are Ontario and Quebec, which account for 86 per cent of the country’s cases and 94 per cent of its deaths, according to the most recent figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

May 28

‘It’s a mutiny. Wow.’ Ontario’s public health units are acting to protect their regions — and the province has to listen
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
The province has to embrace this, and fix this. On Wednesday, Ontario’s 34 public health units, in the face of an inflexible approach and insufficient leadership amid a pandemic, decided to take some controfor themselves.

Narrow focus to supporting ‘subpopulations,’ says expert, in preparation for second wave of the pandemic
The Hill Times
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
As Canada braces for what officials are predicting could be a second wave of COVID-19 cases, some public health experts say the federal government should shift its focus to rolling out supports for “subpopulations” of the Canadian public, but be careful to not step on the jurisdictional toes of its provinces and territories.

City of Toronto breaks down geographic spread of COVID-19
The National – CBC News (video – segment begins at 10:17)
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
More than three quarters of Ontario’s cases are in the Greater Toronto Area, many of those in Toronto proper. But until yesterday we didn’t know where those cases were being detected.

Pandemic shaming
Global News Morning
Interview with Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak
When images first surfaced of the crowds at Trinity-Bellwoods Park, they sparked a massive reaction. One ER doctor had a similar response until he started thinking about solutions.

May 27

Ventilator supplies to grow in Canada while need shifts to developing world
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Arthur Slutsky
The federal government has ordered the manufacture of 10,000 additional ventilators to bolster the national supply in case a resurgence of COVID-19 sends thousands of critically ill patients into intensive care later this year. But the real need may be in the Southern Hemisphere, where new cases of the disease are on the rise and strategies for cheaply making or adapting the critical-care devices could come into play in a way that has so far not been required in Canada.

May 25

Sure, get angry about Trinity Bellwoods park — then find a better way to talk to people about risk, says ER doctor
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak
When he first saw the now-notorious photos of Trinity Bellwoods — the popular downtown park that drew hordes of sun worshippers over the weekend — Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak had the same gut reaction as many others who vented on social media: Anger. Disappointment. Frustration.

May 23

Masks: Everything you need to know but might be too afraid to ask
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Mark Downing
With the country reopening, and Canadian public health officials now recommending the use of masks in public, we took your most common or curious questions to the experts.

Read the stories of this week’s CBC Toronto Front-line Heroes
CBC Toronto
Profiles of Dr. Alex Caudarella and Denise Galszechy
CBC Toronto wants to introduce you to all the people making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic through a series we’re calling Front-line Heroes.

Voices from the ER: Doctors from across Canada weigh in on why you shouldn’t stay away
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Samuel Vaillancourt
At the beginning of the pandemic, Canada’s once frenetic emergency departments went strangely quiet as patients stayed home and stayed away.

May 22

Adapting practices to protect expecting parents, newborns
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Across Canada and around the globe, physicians and health care professionals are rapidly adapting practices as they look to find effective ways to deliver care while minimizing the risk of contracting COVID-19 for patients and health care providers. To help keep regular pre- and post-natal care and routine well-child visits on track, Dr. Tali Bogler came up with an alternative to the typical schedule to keep these patients safe during the pandemic.

Canada is reopening without knowing where Canadians are getting COVID-19
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Canada is emerging from months of lockdown, but key questions remain unanswered about where Canadians are getting infected with COVID-19 and why case levels remain high in our hardest-hit provinces.

May 21

Feds’ proposal for national testing framework may invite pushback from provinces, but experts say standards ‘essential’ as economy reopens
The Hill Times (subscription)
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
As the federal government eyes the development of a national testing and contact tracing
framework, public health experts are welcoming the commitment, saying it is crucial that it be
drafted collaboratively, to ease any worries that Ottawa is overstepping its bounds.

May 19

Fertility clinics begin phased reopening as COVID-19 fears fade
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Michelle O’Connor
Fertility clinics across Canada that shut down services in March because of COVID-19 are beginning to resume treatments now that concerns about overwhelmed hospital systems and protective gear shortages have started to fade.

May 18

Why it’s so hard to ramp up Ontario’s COVID-19 testing. We take a look behind the scenes
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Perhaps at no time in Ontario’s history has a five-digit data point been the focus of so much scrutiny, dispute, congratulation and anguish.

May 16

Read the stories of this week’s CBC Toronto Front-line Heroes
CBC Toronto
Profile of Amelia Pendleton and Nicole Champagne; Comments by Nicole Etherington
When homeless shelters in the city deal with COVID-19 outbreaks, Amelia Pendleton and Nicole Champagne help people with no fixed address find safe places to isolate.

May 15

What we know about your chances of catching the virus outdoors
The New York Times
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
The warmer weather across the country calls to mind carefree summers — picnics in the park, swimming at the beach, fireworks on the Fourth. But nothing feels carefree now.

How pharmacists are fighting COVID-19 misinformation
Contagion Live
Interview with Elizabeth Leung
Elizabeth Leung talks about the work being done by the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists.

May 14

Métis doctor tapped to help analyze data gaps in counting Indigenous COVID-19 cases
CBC News
Profile of Dr. Janet Smylie
Dr. Janet Smylie has dedicated much of her over two-decade career as a Métis physician and leader in the field of Indigenous health to shedding light on the injustices Indigenous people face in Canada’s health-care system.

May 13

Challenges new and expectant moms face during coronavirus pandemic
Citytv Toronto
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Being pregnant can be physically and mentally tough, let alone adding in the stress of a deadly pandemic.

May 12

Manitoba charts new course by collecting race-based data on COVID-19
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
Manitoba has become the first province to track the ethnicity of COVID-19 patients in an effort to detect inequities in the toll of the pandemic, while Quebec and Ontario have announced plans to do the same – a major shift in how Canada measures and tackles the new coronavirus crisis, researchers say.

May 11

My grocery store did a deep cleaning after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. What does that even mean?
Toronto Star
Comments by Heather Fletcher
It’s a term that’s on the tip of many tongues — everywhere from hospitals to warehouses to grocery stores — as the province begins to take cautious steps towards reopening.

May 9

More drinking, more pot use and fewer avenues to get help — the ‘forgotten crisis’ within COVID-19
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Alexander Caudarella
A cross-Canada survey shows alcohol and pot use increasing among people struggling with mental health issues during isolation.

Read the stories of this week’s CBC Toronto ‘Front-line Heroes’
CBC Toronto
Alaina Cox is featured
“A compassionate nurse who always puts the patients first,” is how Swanee Tobin describes her former colleague, Alaina Cox.

May 8

Study pours cold water on hopes that warm weather will defeat COVID-19
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
The pandemic is unlikely to take a summer vacation, according to new University of Toronto-led research — a study that suggests weak impacts of warm weather on COVID-19, but strong reassurance that social distancing works.

May 7

Elimination, not adaptation, is the courageous COVID-19 choice for Canada
The Globe and Mail
Commentary Dr. Irfan Dhalla
A new report from Australia’s leading universities defines two distinct goals that every country must choose between in deciding how to tackle COVID-19. It’s a choice that we are making in Canada right now, even without a public debate.

May 6

Mobile meditation brings relaxation to the forefront for health-care workers
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Jennifer Stewart, Stacey Connors and Vanessa King
One Toronto health-care centre is trying to bring self-care to the workplace, utilizing a unique new service.

Mobile meditation studio visits Scarborough health-care facility
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Viani Tropiano
Front-line healthcare workers at a facility in Scarborough were given the opportunity to relax for a few minutes Wednesday — thanks to a mobile meditation studio.

HIV Drug Being Studied in Clinical Trials for Treatment of COVID-19
The Epoch Times
Comments by Dr. Darrell Tan
An infectious diseases doctor in Toronto is heading up clinical trials of an antiretroviral drug used in the treatment of HIV infection to determine if the same therapy can be used to treat COVID-19.

COVID-19 is causing blood to thicken. Common blood thinners might keep it from killing the sickest
National Post
Comments Dr. Michelle Sholzberg
Not only was it scary that people were dying from COVID-19. For cardiologist Anu Lala and her colleagues at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital, what was particularly frightening was seeing younger patients die, and die suddenly.

When parents can’t hold their preemies, hospitals are doing this instead
HuffPost
Comments by Alie Drabble
Nothing can ever truly prepare a parent for having their baby sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after delivery. No amount of reading or planning can make it any easier. And when a global pandemic hits, all of that fear and stress is only compounded, making the NICU experience even more challenging.

May 5

COVID-19 testing is vital. Here’s what’s holding us back.
Broadview
Commentary by Dr. Larissa Matukas
I’m head of microbiology and biosafety for St. Michael’s Hospital and Unity Health, a network of Catholic hospitals in Toronto. It’s my job to help us prepare and implement testing for COVID-19. My days are always busy but now more than ever.

April 30

‘Very thoughtful’: notes, art, food raise Scarborough seniors’ spirits
Toronto.com
Comments by Dr. Ashley Verduyn
Before Meals on Wheels bags are carried out of the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, Lori Beesley staples paper notes to them.

April 29

Scientists wait months for coronavirus research grants. This economist is trying to fix that.
Washington Post
Comments by Dr. Jonathon Maguire
Economist Tyler Cowen first sounded the alarm that America is unprepared for a pandemic in 2005, when he wrote a paper outlining ways the country should respond and, for a few years, ran a blog focused on the possibility of an avian flu outbreak.

When is it safe for kids to go back to school? Two Canadian projects adding data to the ‘passionate debates’
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Jonathon Maguire
This week, 250 Toronto families received a package of swabs in the mail. Parents will swab their kids and themselves and send the samples back to be tested for COVID-19, and repeat this weekly — a faucet of data to help answer urgent questions about the role children play in driving transmission of the coronavirus.

April 25

Read the stories of this week’s CBC Toronto ‘Front-line Heroes’
CBC Toronto
Profile of Dr. Nadine Laraya
Several of Dr. Nadine Laraya’s colleagues wanted to send her a shout-out for being a hero on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 24

The doctor’s diary: Coronavirus dispatches from an ER physician in Toronto
The Globe and Mail
Commentary by Dr. James Maskalyk
Patients sit in chairs two metres apart, eyes darting above their masks. The nurses and I are gathered in long yellow gowns a few paces away, behind a rolling steel wall.

A doctor fact-checks seven “things we heard” about fertility
Flare
Comments by Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
Generalizing broadly, most women’s attitudes towards our own fertility can be summarized by this line, which seems to come up whenever I talk to my friends about having babies: “You spend your whole life trying not to get pregnant. Then when you actually do want to get pregnant, it’s like…what now?”

Using existing studies to generate new understandings of COVID-19
Medical Xpress
Research by Dr. Andrea Tricco
Existing research may hold the key to treating and preventing COVID-19, suggests the work of a St. Michael’s Hospital research team.

April 23

Health care in the age of COVID-19
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Anish Kirpalani
How is the COVID-19 health crisis impacting Canadians who have had their elective surgeries put on hold for different types of medical conditions?

April 21

St. Michael’s Hospital opens dialysis centre in Thorncliffe Park
Toronto.com
Comments by Jonathan Fetros
A new, state-of-the-art facility for those requiring dialysis is now open in Thorncliffe Park. Located on the ground floor of a former Target store at the East York Town Centre, the 20,000-square-foot St. Michael’s Kidney Care Centre has 21 dialysis stations for patients, six more for hemodialysis training, transition and support, and general kidney care clinics.

 

April 19

To ventilate or not to ventilate? With COVID-19 there’s no clear path
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Laurent Brochard
The storm within a coronavirus patient. Lungs that show up white on a CT-scan rather than black, the inverse of healthy. A profusion of viral particles and dead cell detritus in the lobes – called “ground glass opacity”, because that’s what the scatter resembles, crushed glass.

April 18

Why COVID-19 may attack the body differently than we think
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Jeffrey Perl
Understanding how COVID-19 attacks the human body is essential to developing an effective treatment or vaccine to stop the global pandemic — but there’s still so much we don’t know about how it can kill us.

April 17

‘It’s heartbreaking’: Homeless during pandemic left out in the cold — figuratively and literally
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Red and blue tents dot the landscape in Montreal’s Cabot Square. It’s not a farmers market or a craft show, but a makeshift place for the homeless to go during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will it really take ‘weeks’ to ease physical distancing? Maybe not
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Matthew Muller
How much longer? That’s the visceral plea from Canadians who have been stuck at home for more than a month, many trapped in private purgatory.

People are getting fed up with strict park rules
Vice News
Comments by Farah Mawani
Bodine Waterfire is starting to feel like a criminal every time she takes her dog for a walk. “I’m looking around, my eyes are darting, I kind of crouch down low because there’s a fence; I’m like, maybe they won’t see me,” Waterfire said.

April 16

Indigenous communities, systemic racism and COVID-19
This Matters podcast, Toronto Star
Interview with Dr. Janet Smylie
It’s true that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate: anyone can get sick and potentially die from it. But the social systems that Canada has created often can discriminate.

April 15

Limited data on ventilator use for COVID-19 patients: respiratory therapist
Canadian Press
Comments by Thomas Piraino
Vicki Kap’s family thought she had a cold but less than two days after arriving in hospital she was placed on a ventilator and died of COVID-19.

 

April 8

Unlike Canadians, Americans at least know how Black people are faring with COVID-19 (very badly)
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
COVID-19’s impact on Black people is highlighting the similarities and differences between the U.S. and Canada. They collect data. We don’t. We have universal health care. They don’t. But underlying structures in both nations are deeply racist, which means Black people on both sides of the border live in circumstances that leave them more vulnerable to illnesses at the best of times — and now make them susceptible to the ravages of the pandemic.

April 7

Patches on X-rays, breathing troubles, and ‘odd presentations.’ What COVID-19 looks like to Ontario hospitals
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Laurent Brochard
As an emergency room doctor in Ottawa, Dr. Rohit Gandhi is used to seeing people in serious distress. They usually fit the profile of someone at risk of becoming extremely ill — maybe they’re elderly or live rough on the streets, or suffer from a serious medical condition.

April 4

In Canada’s coronavirus fight, front-line workers miss their families, fear the worst and hope they’re ready
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge
Hospitals across the country are bracing for what’s expected to be a rush of new coronavirus cases in the coming weeks.

April 2

In the war against COVID-19, ventilators face their toughest mission yet
c|net
Comments by Dr. Art Slutsky
If it wasn’t so macabre it would be almost poetic: An illness that aggressively attacks the lungs, caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, has spread so rapidly and completely that we’ve barely had time to stop and catch our breath.

Osimertinib may be beneficial for NSCLC patients with intracranial metastasis
M.D./alert
Comments by Dr. Sunit Das
Results of a systematic review and meta-analysis support a possible role for osimertinib in the management of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with intracranial metastatic disease, researchers say.

March 27

Ontario clinicians bracing for ‘surge’ of COVID-19 patients — but exact timing hard to predict
CBC Toronto
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider
Front-line healthcare workers are bracing for a “surge” in COVID-19 patients, which could hit Ontario hospitals within weeks — though the exact timing, experts warn, is hard to predict.

March 25

Why the emergency departments look empty amid a viral outbreak
National Post
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider
The sound of Nicole Odermatt’s son gasping for air woke her just after midnight. The Cambridge, Ont., mom immediately recognized an attack of croup, which the six-year-old had faced several times before. But even as his lips turned blue, she admits to hesitating before she ultimately called an ambulance.

Mandatory self-isolation for those returning to Canada starts March 26
CBC News Network
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider
Beginning Thursday, travellers returning to Canada will have mandatory self-isolation for 14 days. The chief of emergency medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital says it’s important for people to stay at home — and important to have enforcement if they don’t.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
Scienmag
Comments by Anders Erickson and Dr. Sunit Das
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto and Harvard Medical School.

March 24

A message from the ICU team at St. Michael’s Hospital (video)
CBC News The National
Featuring staff from St. Michael’s Intensive Care Unit

March 20

“We envisioned the whole thing as a conveyor belt”: How St. Mike’s doctors created a Covid-19 assessment centre from scratch
Toronto Life
Commentary by Dr. Joel Lockwood
As an emergency physician and trauma team leader at St. Michael’s Hospital, I’ve been paying close attention to developments in the Covid-19 outbreak over the past few months. Once we got our first confirmed cases in Canada, our team knew we needed a plan.

March 18

Two Italian doctors look to colleagues’ wisdom in leading the critical-care team at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital
The Globe and Mail
Interview with Drs. Alberto Goffi and Andrea Rigamonti
Among the biggest challenges facing Canadian critical-care doctors as they brace themselves for the coronavirus is that most have never treated a single patient made severely ill by the new pathogen, let alone the dozens a day who could soon need their help.

March 13

Do we really need vagina sheet masks?
The Kit
Comments by Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
It was only a matter of time before the wellness wave came for our vaginas. A bevy of new-gen intimate care products infused with “plant-powered” ingredients and promising the pampering our “lady bits” deserve, are aiming to take self-care to new terrain.

March 11

Toronto hospital touts heart procedure for high-risk patients as ‘game-changer’
Canadian Press
Interview with Dr. Neil Fam
A weak heart made simple tasks like walking to the bathroom from his bedroom difficult for Mir Hasan Ali. The 76-year-old retiree says he would tire quickly and feel dizzy if he walked more than a few minutes.

March 5

The Keto diet: why bother?
Ontario Today, CBC Radio
Interview with Dr. David Jenkins
This low-carb, high-fat diet was ranked worst by a US panel of specialists. But it’s still popular. Our guest nutritional scientist Dr. David Jenkins helped formulate Canadian and US guidelines for diabetes and led the team that first defined the glycemic index of foods.

March 4

Honouring women in STEM for International Women’s Day
Breakfast Television, Citytv Toronto
Interviews with Dr. Shannon Dunn and Dr. Dalia Rotstein
Two of St. Michael’s researchers (Dr. Dalia Rotstein and Dr. Shannon Dunn) were featured in a BT Toronto story  about women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8.

March

New online tool directs patients and visitors to support services in the community
Hospital News
Interviews with Lauren Massey and Tedi Brash
Often, discharged patients, community members or visitors come to Unity Health Toronto staff asking for help to find social care such as crisis services, financial support, abuse resources, housing options or support for newcomers.

Creating an AI-powered solution to address scheduling challenges
Hospital News
Comments by Ray Howald and Dr. Muhammad Mamdani
It was less than a year ago that Ray Howald, the clinical leader manager of the Emergency Department (ED) at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, thought out loud, “Would it be possible to create a system that does this for us?”

Seeing green: Unity Health Toronto implements various sustainability initiatives
Hospital News
Comments by Dayalan Thevathasan and Dr. Syed Ali Abbass

First the plastic straws went. Then it was Styrofoam and plastic materials such as utensils, take-out containers, soup bowls and lids, coffee cups and lids, stir sticks, and plates. Compost bins and a cooking-oil recycling project were also implemented.

New trauma bay shows the impact of simulations on hospital design
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak and Margaret Moy Lum-Kwong
A brand new trauma bay has opened inside St. Michael’s Hospital’s Slaight Family Emergency Department (ED) after a lengthy and carefully planned testing and design process that ensured trauma patients will get the best possible care when they need it most.

Thinking outside the box to improve surgical safety for patients
Canadian Healthcare Technology
Profile of the International Centre for Surgical Safety with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital
How does an operating room’s team culture impact a patient’s surgical outcomes? What about the number of times the OR door opens during a procedure? Or the types of distractions the team experiences while performing surgery?

Feb. 26

How to travel during the international coronavirus outbreak
Comments by Dr. Kamran Khan
Vox
The map of Covid-19 spread around the world looks a lot different than it did just a week ago. While new infections are slowing down in China, they’re rapidly picking up pace around the globe. Of the people infected with the virus, at least in China, around 2 per cent die. Individuals over the age of 50 are overrepresented among the severe cases and deaths, as well as people with underlying health conditions. So, someone who is elderly or immunocompromised from a chronic disease should think differently about their risk of severe infection “compared to a healthy 18-year-old,” said Dr. Khan, an author on the modeling studies cited in the article.

Feb. 20

Trends in lower-extremity amputations for diabetes and peripheral artery disease
Q&A with Dr. Charles de Mestral
Hospital News
Together, diabetes and peripheral artery disease account for more than 80 per cent of lower-extremity amputations in Canada. A recent study by St. Michael’s Hospital vascular surgeons, Dr. Mohammed Al-Omran and Dr. Charles de Mestral, has found that lower-extremity amputations related to diabetes and peripheral arterial disease have increased over the last decade in Ontario.

 

Feb. 12

4 tips on handling Toronto’s slippery sidewalks this winter
Tips from Jessica Casey and Julia Filinski
Toronto.com

Though it’s been a milder winter than usual in Toronto, fluctuating temperatures can pose unexpected risks for slips and falls. The warmer days and sudden temperature drops at night can create sheets of ice that are dangerous when unnoticed. The Falls Prevention Clinic at Providence Healthcare takes a holistic, interprofessional approach to addressing risks and prevention, and is available to the community through a referral from your family doctor. Occupational therapist Jessica Casey and physiotherapist Julia Filinski at Providence helped develop the Falls Prevention Clinic six years ago and shared their top tips for falls prevention and awareness.

Geriatric Psychiatric Clinic supports complex needs of older adults
Introduces the Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic at Providence
Hospital News

The Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic is part of a multidisciplinary program, The Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, housed at Providence Healthcare since 1988. The role of the clinic’s geriatric psychiatrists is to assess, consult, and treat elderly patients who may have a mental health issue, dementia syndrome, behaviour disorder, or a psychosocial problem. Referrals to the clinic come primarily from family physicians, geriatricians, and neurologists. A critical component of the program is the community outreach service, which involves health care professionals visiting patients in their homes to identify factors that contribute to frailty in the elderly.

Feb. 10

Community Health Navigators offer ‘safety net’ for patients going home
Comments by Monica McCullagh and Kelly Tough
Hospital News

At Providence Healthcare, the Community Health Navigator role supports patients after discharge and rehab patients receive either a live or an automated phone call – based on their preference – to check on how they’re doing. These calls happen at the 48-hour, 30-day and four-month points after discharge. Monica McCullagh, one of three Community Health Navigators (CHN), said the navigators make sure the discharge plans are being followed, that physician referrals are in motion and that they have the medications they need.

Feb. 9

Armes à feu : Ottawa veut permettre le signalement des personnes à risque
Ici Radio-Canada Première Toronto
Comments by Dr. Samuel Vaillancourt
Le ministre de la Sécurité publique, Bill Blair, compte présenter un projet de loi incluant la possibilité d’alerter les autorités en cas de comportement à risque de personnes possédant des armes à feu.

Feb. 6

Traumatic brain injury in homeless people is underrecognized
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Neurology Today

A recent review in The Lancet Public Health found the lifetime prevalence of any severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in homeless and marginally housed individuals was 53.1 percent, and the lifetime prevalence of either moderate or severe TBI was 22.5 percent. Dr. Stephen Hwang, an internist, homelessness researcher, and director of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said living on the streets or in a shelter is a hazardous environment. He said neurologists treating homeless patients should be aware of the possibility that a history of TBI could be the cause of behavioral issues, seizures or unexplained cognitive deficits. He helped craft recommendations issued in October 2018 by the National Health Care for the Homeless Council that focus on the care of patients who are homeless and living with the effects of TBI.

Jan. 31

Plastic-free periods: Reusable menstrual products are going mainstream (scroll for the article)
Interview with Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
CBC News

Every year, tens of billions of single-use pads and tampons go into landfills — material that takes hundreds of years to decompose. The average user goes through between 5,000 and 15,000 pads and/or tampons in a lifetime. Reusable menstrual products have been available for a while, but they’re becoming increasingly mainstream. Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at. St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Unity Health Toronto, said a lot of her patients have been using reusable products for several years, indicating those who make the switch end up sticking with it.

Jan. 26

How the design of a new trauma centre at St. Michael’s Hospital is meant to save precious seconds, and lives
Interviews with Candis Kokoski, Dr. Bernard Lawless, Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak and Dr. Carolyn Snider
The Toronto Star

Trauma teams at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital spent countless hours in the last year and a half trying to shave minutes and seconds off treatment times for critically injured patients. But in the type of Level 1 trauma centre the hospital opened last week to the city’s most gravely injured patients, minutes and seconds are the medicine of life. The quicker, more coordinated and efficient the treatment, the greater the chance of survival, says Dr. Bernard Lawless, medical director of the hospital’s trauma program. The upgrade has a much better layout to more smoothly, efficiently manage patents as they come through the doors, said Dr. Lawless. The new equipment is certainly an upgrade in the incremental way that new versions of technologies typically improve on the older, but it’s the placement of the equipment, the logistical layout of the cabinets, the shelves, the smallest details — that will make the most difference.

Jan. 21

Study finds female soccer players more likely to undergo medical assessments after head trauma than men
Research by Dr. Michael Cusimano
The Globe and Mail

Half of elite female soccer players who suffered a head-collision event received medical assessments, compared with a third of male players, according to a study by Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital. In the matches reviewed, 84 per cent of female athletes and 88 per cent of male athletes showed two or more visible signs of concussion after a head collision event, including clutching of the head or disequilibrium. Dr. Cusimano believes the differences in how head collision events are handled between the two genders may lie in the on-field officials – female referees officiate female matches.
– Additional coverage in The Toronto Star, CTV News and Sportsnet

Food insecurity can shorten lifespan
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
CBC News

A new study shows that food insecurity – the lack of access to nutritious foods – can shorten someone’s lifespan by nine years. Dr. Gary Bloch, a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital’s Academic Family Health team, was not involved in the study but says that the findings reinforce what he sees in his practice. Dr. Bloch said the prospect of dying earlier due to a lack of access to nutritious food is frightening and should be addressed at the social policy level.

Boys and young men more likely to die than girls and young women, study finds
Research by Dr. Joel Ray
The Canadian Press, via CBC News

A new study shows boys and young men are more likely to die than girls and young women, and they have a greater chance of dying due to injury, particularly from age 14 onwards. The study looked at 3.1 million children born in Ontario between 1990 and 2016 and examined who died and from what cause between the ages of one and 24. Lead author Dr. Joel Ray, a clinician-scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said the jump in deaths during adolescence, particularly in boys, is likely due to an increase in risk-taking behaviours, but said biological factors and changes may play a role in those behaviours as well.
– Additional coverage on The Toronto Star

Jan. 14

Bariatric Centre of Excellence opens at Unity Health Toronto
Comments by Sonya Canzian
Toronto.com

Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) and Unity Health Toronto have partnered to open a Bariatric Centre of Excellence (BCoE) to provide their communities with access to bariatric surgical care close to home. A BCoE provides services with a team of experts who have adopted best practices to help people manage obesity. The Unity Health – MGH BCoE includes a Bariatric Assessment Centre (BAC) at Providence Healthcare and a partnership of three existing bariatric surgery sites: St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and MGH. Together, the Centre provides comprehensive pre-operative, peri-operative and post-operative bariatric surgical care. Sonya Canzian, Chief Nursing and Health Professions Officer at Unity Health, said the partnership is a patient-focused solution that will benefit hundreds of people every year.

Caught in a crisis: crystal meth addiction in Canada
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider
CBC News

Dr. Carolyn Snider, chief of St. Michael’s Hospital’s emergency department, believes it won’t be long until Toronto hospitals see the same levels of crystal meth cases as she did back in Winnipeg while working as an emergency physician. Dr. Snider saw crystal meth become the predominant substance among patients around 2017, and said it was a frustrating period, because as front-line staff were struggling to manage five or six patients actively suffering from meth psychosis at any given time, federal funding and national attention was directed at the opiate crisis. Now at St. Michael’s in Toronto, Dr. Snider sees that opioids are still very much a problem, but she has also seen several cases of meth hallucinations and psychosis, and believes that the drug is moving east.

Jan. 11

Is Canada at risk from a mysterious Chinese virus related to SARS?
Comments by Dr. Kamran Khan
CBC News

An illness in China has been identified as a new coronavirus, a large family of viruses that can make the jump from animals to humans and range from the common cold to much more serious illnesses, such as SARS or MERS. Given the fact that both SARS and the Wuhan outbreak both originated in open-air markets that sold both live and dead animals, the similar origins of the viruses are hard to ignore. Dr. Kamran Khan, an infectious disease physician and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto said there are some parallels thinking back to SARS, however we are getting information earlier in this outbreak. He said to get in front of threats, information must move faster than the diseases themselves.

Jan. 8

‘I was pretty broken’: Man shares journey of learning to walk again after serious car crash
Patient story, with comments by Jeff Kestenberg and Dr. Ashley Verduyn
CTV News

J.D. Penner, who was once an avid cyclist and runner, was seriously injured in an Etobicoke crash more than five years ago. He was left with nerve damage, a concussion and fractures all over his body, including the tibia and fibula, clavical, stemum, ribs, vertebra and right hand. After emergency surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital, Penner arrived at Providence Healthcare for between seven and eight weeks of rehabilitation, including learning how to walk again. Penner said he has a lot of love for Providence, and while he doesn’t consider himself to be particularly inspirational, he hopes that his journey might resonate with someone going through something similar.
– Video coverage on CTV News Toronto

East Toronto groups form community-focused health-care network
Mentions Providence and the Toronto East Ontario Health Team
Toronto.com

A new integrated health care network is now up and running in East Toronto. Ontario’s Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott officially named the Toronto East Ontario Health Team, East Toronto Health Partners as it’s being called, as one of the first of 24 new health teams in Ontario. The new team consists of six anchor partners, all of whom have a long track record of working together. They are Michael Garron Hospital, Providence Healthcare, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, VHA Home HealthCare, WoodGreen Community Services and East Toronto Family Practice Network, which is the voice of 260 primary care physicians in East Toronto with the support of a number of organizations with similar offerings.

Induced labor tied to neonatal complications among women with diabetes before pregnancy
Research by Dr. Howard Berger
Healio

Routine induction of labour among women with diabetes before pregnancy is not associated with an increase in the rate of cesarean delivery, but is associated with certain neonatal complications, according to findings published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care. Dr. Howard Berger, lead researcher and head of maternal fetal medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, said based on this population-based, retrospective data, delivery of women with preexisting diabetes before 39 weeks’ gestation is associated with a higher rate of neonatal complications and does not reduce the cesarean section rate.

Jan. 7

St. Joseph’s hospital gets money to help with wait times and overcrowding
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge
The Toronto Star

The Ontario government is providing up to $5 million in funding to cover costs of early planning of redevelopment at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. Dr. Tim Rutledge, president and chief executive of Unity Health Toronto, told a news conference the new facilities will help transform patient care in Toronto’s west end.

Not enough home care top concern for Ontario patients, study finds
Research by Dr. Tara Kiran
CBC News

The three biggest problems for patients surveyed about their discharge from Ontario hospitals all concern publicly funded home care, according to new research published in an international medical journal. Dr. Tara Kiran, lead researcher of the study and a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, hopes the findings will encourage improvements in the hospital-to-home transition navigated by some one million patients every year in this province. The study involved more than 700 patients who had been admitted to Ontario hospitals over the previous three years.

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