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CATIE update on COVID-19

 

Like many of you, CATIE is paying close attention to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the Canadian and global response to the pandemic. We have taken a number of measures to play our part in the response, and we would like to share some information about how this may have an impact on your work.

COVID-19 and people with HIV or hepatitis C

While we are still learning about COVID-19, public health officials suggest that people living with HIV with an undetectable viral load and a normal (or near-normal) CD4+ cell count are not at greater risk for coronavirus-related illness. HIV-positive people who are not on treatment, particularly those with very low CD4+ cell counts, may be at increased risk for coronavirus-related complications.

Like HIV-negative people, HIV-positive may also be at risk for coronavirus-related complications if they are over the age of 65 or have any of the underlying conditions associated with greater risk of illness, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney injury.

Hepatitis C infection can degrade the liver over time, resulting in other health conditions that may increase the risk related to coronavirus – such as kidney injury, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

We will be publishing a CATIE News article this week that summarizes what we know about the relationship between COVID-19 and HIV and hepatitis C. To receive this update, make sure you are subscribed to CATIE News.

What CATIE is doing

Effective Monday, March 16, CATIE staff are working from home where possible. We have taken this measure to protect the health of staff and the people we work with, and to ease the burden on the public health system. We have cancelled all staff travel for the foreseeable future, and we are moving meetings and events online, postponing, or cancelling where necessary.

What this means for your work

The majority of CATIE services will continue to be delivered virtually. Staff have remote access to phone and e-mail, and will continue to provide information and resources online. We have confirmed with our third-party warehouse and distribution service that operations of the CATIE Ordering Centre will continue as normal.

During the period that CATIE staff are working from home, our inquiry service will no longer accept telephone calls. We ask that service providers direct their inquiries to our e-mail inquiry service at questions@catie.ca. We will continue to respond to e-mail inquiries in a timely manner.

What you can do

There are simple and effective measures you can take to protect your health and the health of your families, service users and colleagues, outlined by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

If you are working from home, CATIE offers online opportunities for you to continue learning and building your capacity while outside the office. Browse our self-directed online courses and review our past webinar recordings.