Jan 28, 2022

Family Doctors Launch ‘ConfusedAboutCOVID.ca’ to Answer Pandemic Questions

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By Amy Noise

The University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine and the Ontario College of Family Physicians have launched ConfusedAboutCOVID.ca, which gives Ontarians reliable information about common worries, potential health impacts and the latest guidance to curb COVID-19’s spread.  

The Omicron variant and rapid shifts in the pandemic environment have caused confusion and worry for many people, and added urgency to the need for reliable information on isolation periods, testing and overall management of the virus.  

Professor Tara Kiran
Unity Health Toronto
Professor Tara Kiran

A team of family doctors helped create ConfusedAboutCOVID.ca to address this need, led by Tara Kiran, a professor and vice-chair of quality and innovation in Temerty Medicine’s department of family and community medicine, who is also a family doctor at St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team, Unity Health Toronto

The plain-language guide helps people understand current COVID-19 realities and guidance and answers questions such as:  

  • What do I do about my symptoms?  

  • Can I see my relatives, or do I need to self-isolate?  

  • When should I call my doctor?  

The first six questions are available online now and will be updated with additional questions as the Omicron situation evolves. The resource is currently available in English, with more languages coming soon. 

“As family doctors, we are constantly fielding questions and trying to help our patients make sense of the latest guidance around COVID-19 and Omicron. These resources answer some of the most common questions from our patients, families and caregivers,” says Danielle Martin, professor and chair of family and community medicine at U of T who is a family doctor at Women’s College Hospital

Liz Muggah, president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians and a family doctor at Bruyère Family Medicine Centre, says Ontarians are increasingly confused and anxious about how they should respond if they have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19.  

“Throughout the pandemic, family doctors have been a reliable resource for Ontarians and now Ontario’s family doctors are making it even easier for Ontarians to access reliable information to their questions with ConfusedAboutCOVID.ca,” Muggah says. 

Navsheer Gill, faculty wellness lead for family and community medicine at U of T, is one of the family physicians keen to use this information. She plans to get the Q&As into the hands, inboxes and social media feeds of her patients.  

“Patients are frustrated by the time spent going click to click to click and still not finding what they need to know, and elderly patients face particular barriers,” says Gill. 

Much of the current guidance tends to be long-winded, not written in clear terms and spread over many different places, making it hard for patients to get the answers they need, Gill adds. “With these documents, patients finally have a one-stop resource where they can find answers to questions most relevant to their lives.”