A Guide to Mitigating the Risk of Infection in Veterinary Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Documento de orientação de clínicas veterinárias COVID-19 e Veterinária: Atualização janeiro de 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery of veterinary medicine, like virtually all sectors. While societal containment measures are being decreased, the risk posed by COVID-19 will continue for months or years to come, and control measures of varying forms will be required during this time. Veterinarians will need to continue to implement measures to minimize the risk of spread of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, associated with veterinary practice.
As COVID-19 is predominantly, if not exclusively, maintained through human-to-human transmission, the overall goal of social distancing is to reduce human-to-human contact, both by reducing the incidence of contacts and reducing the closeness and duration of any required contacts. It is recognized that complete social distancing is not possible in veterinary medicine; therefore, measures must be in place to reduce the risk of exposure when distancing is not possible.
The role of animals in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is unclear. Zoonotic transmission, if it occurs, is presumably very rare. However, veterinarians are at the forefront of risk groups, particularly as they may have contact with animals owned by people with active COVID-19. While the risk is low, it is impossible to say that it is zero. Therefore, measures to minimize zoonotic transmission risks are indicated.
There is no standard approach to COVID-19 control in veterinary practice that would apply to all situations and practice types. Rather, there is a set of expectations and areas of consideration that veterinarians and veterinary clinics must evaluate and apply, as applicable. Below is a set of resources, tips, and best practices to help employers and employees prevent the spread of COVID-19 and work together to reopen the province.
In addition to reviewing and implementing recommendations set out in this guide, employers and workers in Ontario have certain duties and rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations. Employers should also review and follow any applicable directives and guidance coming from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ministry of Health, or the Local Health Unit.