Roughly 30 students from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in Ontario are set to work with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) to aid in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The year three and year four students received a call from our own local MLHU to assist them in following up on the contact for the probable cases for the COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Davy Cheng, Acting Dean of Schulich Medicine and Dentistry.
Students will be working remotely and performing follow up phone calls for probable COVID-19 patients. During that phone call, the students will also be going through step-by-step with the patient, on who they have come in contact with.
“The students, they call the index of probable cases, and then trace back who they have been in contact with. That will allow them to ensure they contact those people, self isolate, and be cautious for hand hygiene as well as not to spread,” Cheng said.
The phone calls are not only a follow-up but also serve as a reminder for presumptive patients to heed the advice from provincial healthcare professionals.
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“Not only is it a follow-up, but more importantly it is to remind people to self-isolate. Often they need several reminders about how important it is, and [we need to] be educating on why we want probable cases to be self-isolating.”
Cheng tells Global News it’s a great experience for those who are finishing up their degrees in medical school.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students to gain first hand regarding public health, how to respond to a pandemic.”
This isn’t the first time students at Schulich Medicine and Dentistry have stepped up to aid the community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Just for one example, students have been collecting personal protective equipment from donors, sorting through it, and delivering it to local primary care teams based on need.
Cheng tells Global News that he couldn’t be more proud of what his students are contributing and accomplishing during the tough times the London, Ont., community is facing.
“Myself and our school and our university are so proud of our medical students. They are all volunteering for many kinds of work in the fight for COVID-19.”
About 50 more medical students from the Windsor campus will also be volunteering for their own local region and health unit to do follow up phone calls and tracing.
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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
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