SARS assessment clinic: a rapid response to an infectious outbreak

CJEM. 2005 May;7(3):162-7. doi: 10.1017/s1481803500013208.


The Toronto SARS outbreak began in February 2003 and lasted more than 16 weeks. The city and its health care system faced enormous challenges in responding to this new infectious disease, learning about its transmission, diagnosis and treatment, in containing its spread and in coping with its socioeconomic impact. As the site of a significant cluster of cases in the second wave of the outbreak, North York General Hospital (NYGH) quickly adapted many components of its operations, focusing on the fight against SARS. In order to assess potential SARS cases in a safe, efficient and effective manner, NYGH established a SARS assessment clinic. We describe the design features, construction, layout and operation of this clinic. This type of clinic can be rapidly deployed and may be of great value during future infectious outbreaks, including pandemic influenza.