A head shot of the hospital CEO and the text: A message from Dr. Gary Newton

Dear colleagues

We are now about six weeks since the emergence and confirmation by the Chinese government of a new coronavirus, commonly referred to as 2019-nCoV by health officials.

This week, the World Health Organization announced a new name for the virus, COVID-19. This name consists of the CO in coronavirus, VI in virus and D for disease. The number 19 stands for the year 2019, which is when the virus was first discovered. A new name coming at this juncture is a demonstration that this is an evolving situation, with much still to be learned and no immediate end in sight.

As health care providers, our vigilance and our resilience during this time will be critical. Our commitment is to support you and empower you with information as it becomes available. With the existing expertise at Sinai Health, a COVID-19 Management Task Group has been established. They are focusing on patient screening, aerosol-generating medical procedures, protecting our people, infrastructure, and communications and resilience. We are also sharing knowledge, advice and judgment across our Toronto Academic Health Science Network hospital group and the University of Toronto.

We will continue to focus our efforts on protecting our people and patients. Remember, the efforts that we are undertaking will not only be beneficial in avoiding an outbreak of COVID-19, but also because we are in the middle of flu season.

During next week’s Town Halls, COVID-19 will be a topic to offer you an opportunity to learn more and ask questions. We hope you can join us.