March 31st, 2020

Coronavirus clinic opened at hospital but strictly for doctor referrals alone

By GILLIAN SLADE on March 25, 2020.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

A coronavirus clinic opened in Medicine Hat last Friday, according to a local physician.

The COVID-19 assessment and treatment centre is operating at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital but patients have to be referred there – you can’t just show up.

The clinic is not for a patient to be present without being authorized to do so, and is definitely not a walk-in clinic, the physician said. Patients will only be seen at this location if directed to do so after triage in the Emergency Department, or if they are directed to report there by Health Link, Public Health, or primary care clinics in the community.

The News has been informed that the purpose of the assessment clinic is to divert upper respiratory illnesses from the emergency department. This helps to avoid sick patients infecting others.

Alberta Health’s Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer, still recommends that patients with mild symptoms remain at home for 14 days in self isolation to avoid infecting others. Only those who are experiencing severe symptoms should contact 811 Health Link or do the online assessment available on Alberta Health Services’ website for further direction.

The coronavirus assessment and treatment centre at Medicine Hat hospital is operating out of the former Family Medicine Maternity Clinic, which has temporarily been moved to another area of the hospital.

The News has been told by a physician that many of the prenatal visits are currently being done by telephone to limit the spread of COVID-19

Family physicians in the community are taking shifts at the coronavirus assessment and treatment centre that operates for 12 hours a day.

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