Canadian Eye and Tissue Bank Operational Status Update

March 24, 2020

Province Program Status March 24, 2020
British Columbia
  • The Eye Bank of BC is continuing to recover, albeit at a reduced level. During this time, BC is deferring all respiratory-related deaths and those from ICUs; and will be asking supplemental Med/Soc questions (1. Has the donor been diagnosed with or suspected to have had COVID-19 in the past two months; 2. Has to donor had any contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected to have had COVID-19 in the past 28 days; 3) Did the donor have any of the following symptoms in the past 28 days: fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath; 4. Did the donor travel outside of Canada in the past 28 days; and 5. Did the donor have any contact with someone who travelled outside of Canada in the past 28 days).  A positive response to Q#1 is an automatic deferral, positive responses for any other questions will be sent for a medical director consult.
Alberta North
  • CTC is still recovering tissue. Cornea transplants are on hold as an elective procedure, so CTC has no need to recover corneas. CTC is determining its approach to have emergent supply on hand but will likely continue with a limited recovery program in order to have corneas on hand for emergencies.
Alberta South  
Saskatchewan
  • Eye bank has suspended recovery.
Manitoba
  • Tissue Bank Manitoba: Currently business as usual.  Remembering that we are a recovery agency & allograft distributor, not a source establishment, here is my update: Allograft Distribution: 0 = Surgeries canceled or delayed4 donors in the last 8 days (this is high for us, normally we do 4 a month –people are feeling very generous right now)Enhanced Covid-19 screening as per Health Canada, AATB etc. Experiencing slight delays at US border, but not significant enough to impact operations; 0 issues with materials or supplies; We are currently supplied for ~3 months.In anticipation of this event I increased our allograft inventory by ~25% three weeks ago, so no anticipated issues thereAll staff present and accounted for, not a single part-time/full-time staff member has requested leave for child care or other Modifications to our service are minimal: No visitors allowed in the facilityModified shift schedule to reduce the amount of people at work at one timeReduction on face-to-face meetings, any necessary huddles/meeting is held in lobby or from office door, where ample space is availableGeneral reminders around use of universal precautions   At this time we are not planning to alter our services, however that status could change at any time as the situation evolves. We anticipate that this event will last for months and will continue to provide service as we are able. Misericordia Eye Bank Eye Bank is limiting recovery based on the Donor Assessment record and 28-day criteria of EBAA.   Are being  cautious with tissue recovery as we will need tissue for emergency cases when those occur. Frozen would be the first choice as we have a supply of frozen globes and amnion.
Ontario
  • Screening Changes: TGLN using 28 days threshold free of any respiratory symptoms, etc.   Ocular Recovery: Eye Bank had a potential staff exposure so temporarily not receiving tissue. As of March 23rd Eye Bank is now prepared to receive tissue.  TGLN working through recovery staff concerns before re-starting recoveries and providing education on the new screening.  Expected date to re-start recoveries for emergency use is March 25 or 26 assuming decision to move forward.   Recovery of whole globe to meet emergency ocular surgery needs using revised screening criteria.   All other ocular recoveries deferred.  Elective eye surgeries cancelled throughout the province. Recovery to be completed at TGLN’s surgical suite, not hospitals   Multi Tissue Recovery: Recovery as in the past using revised screening criteria.Donations continue but reduced volume. Recovery completed at TGLN recovery suite, not hospitals.  
Quebec
  • No tissue recovery is being performed at hospitals, donors are transported to our facilities to limit the travel and exposure of recovery staff. Staff are asked to stay home or are reassigned to other departments.  Multi-tissue activity reduced to week-days only (recovery and processing day and evening shifts).  Reduced but will ensure heart, skin and eye recovery.Will maintain a limited supply of cornea, mainly for urgent tissue requests.Hospitals have cancelled non-urgent surgeries, resulting in 25 corneal transplants cancelled this week. If the situation worsens the need for tissue will be minimal and the tissue bank will reduce its activities further and prioritize life-saving tissues (skin grafts and pediatric heart valves) It will be increasingly difficult to qualify tissue donors in those that have been infected or in contact with infected people. There is a recommendation to limit movement from one region to another within the province, and in the event,  travel is prohibited, this will reduce the number of donors. Have added two new specific qualifying questions: have they been diagnosed or expected diagnosed with COVID 19 (28-day deferral) and has there been contact or have they been ordered to quarantine. Following the recommendation from Public Health, they will be modifying the deferral period to 14 days.
New Brunswick
  • As of Feb. 27th, new questions were added to the DRAI (in accordance to EBAA & AATB recommendations).On March 16th, under the guidance of our Medical Director, Dr Seamone, and in consultation with Nova Scotia Health’s Regional Tissue Bank (where most corneas recovered in NB are sent for processing and allocation), we suspended all ocular tissue recovery in consideration of the following: OR now being restricted to urgent and emergent cases only (hence no corneal transplant surgeries) and some frozen tissue being available (for tectonic use).The NBOTP-Ocular Division has no corneal tissue in the bank.  Some NB tissue has been frozen and available from Regional Tissue Bank.  For MS tissue, because of the same reductions taking place in NB’s Horizon Health Network (cancellation of elective surgeries) and the fact that, for NBOTP, Eye Bank Technicians are responsible to perform initial screening for MS tissue donors, under the guidance of our Medical Director, Dr Mitton, we have also decided to suspend MS tissue recoveries temporarily.We do have some tissues on inventory which can be shipped to NB facilities sill ordering these; our current inventory consisting mostly of bone products (cancellous chips, femoral & tibial struts, femoral heads, tricortical wedges, fibula segments, with some hemi-patellar tendons).  
Nova Scotia
  • Has suspended all eye and tissue recovery as COVID continues to spread. Decision is based on risk assessment to staff, patients and in relation to utilization of resources.Bank PPE and supplies may be redirected to patient care. Suspension is expected to be extended as COVID continues to spread.

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