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Screening site for COVID-19 virus opening today at Headwaters hospital

March 19, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

A drive-thru assessment clinic is being launched at Headwaters Health Care Centre today (March 19) as the local medical community reacts to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The service will be available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, and will be manned by local family physicians, team members from home and community care providers, and hospital staff.

“It will be a dedicated drive-thru clinic that assesses people in the community with possible symptoms of COVID-19. There will also be a walk-up option for people,” said Kim Delahunt, President and CEO of the hospital. “We will have two lanes, which means, if we are fully staffed, we would be able to assess two vehicles at once.”

Assessments will take less than 15 minutes, Ms. Delahunt says. Upon arrival, individuals will be asked to fill out a ‘screening sheet’, which staff will then use to determine whether they need to be tested. Should a individual require testing, they will be asked to register and pull into one of the drive-thru tents. A member of the care team will then assess them while they remain in their vehicle. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, and the severity of symptoms, individuals will be told to self-isolate, or visit the emergency department while they await test results.

The hospital itself, Ms. Delahunt says, has taken a number of steps in response to the global COVID-19 crisis.

“We have activated a Headwaters-wide Emergency Operations Centre and we are moving swiftly to respond. We are prioritizing the work required for management of COVID-19 as we continue to deliver care to patients and families,” Ms. Delahunt said. “We have taken several steps over the past week to maintain the safety and security of our staff, physicians, patients and visitors to reduce traffic flow in our hospital and maintain appropriate social distancing.”

These measures include shutting down student and volunteer programs at the hospital, removing onsite vendors affiliated specifically with the Headwaters Health Care Auxiliary, restricting access to visitors from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with only one person allowed per patient. Visitors under the age of 16, or over 75, generally are not permitted. This does not include patients of paediatric patients, palliative care visitors, or support people for obstetric patients.

Individuals can now only access the hospital from two entry points – at the emergency department and ambulatory care centre. Anyone who enters the hospital, including staff and patients, will be screened. 

“We are also postponing non-urgent, elective activity such as procedures, surgeries, appointments and tests. To everyone whose procedures, tests and appointments are postponed, I apologize. I appreciate you may have waited a long time for your appointment, but our singular focus now is on our COVID-19 response,” Ms. Delahunt said.

She added, “These are not decisions we take lightly. We know these decisions will have a significant impact on a number of people who require health services at Headwaters, but it is necessary and we need to act now. If you do not need to be at the hospital, please stay away. For those that have to come to the hospital, your patience is greatly appreciated. It may take longer to enter the hospital due to our screening process. Please remember to be kind to one another.”

Ms. Delahunt went on record to thank the entire workforce at Headwaters, stating “now, more than ever, we have a critically important job to do” to assist the local community. 

In a final message to local residents, she called on the community to come together and show a united front in the face of the hugely contagious COVID-19, which has brought the world to its knees in recent weeks.

“Please look out for one another. This is a pivotal time for us all. We need as many people as possible to remain healthy at home so our hospital and family physicians can focus on our response to COVID-19,” Ms. Delahunt said. “Our team and our partners are unwavering in our commitments to care for you – we are one community, caring together.”



         

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