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COVID-19 at EWFHT

TO OUR PATIENTS:                                                                         Posted 17 March, 2020

PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE COMMUNICATION FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19 AND WHAT OUR CLINICS ARE DOING TO MANAGE IT

Effective immediately, our clinics have moved to virtual care for all patients, with the exception of those who have essential (as defined by the clinician) needs for in-person care.  You may continue to book appointments by calling or booking online, however, please cooperate with screening at multiple stages, if it is deemed essential that you come into the clinic.  Please be honest and up front about your symptoms and exposure history so you do not put our office staff or others at risk.  Appointments booked will be triaged for the most appropriate mode of virtual care, and you will be contacted by your physician either through phone call, email, or video call.

Video visits will require you to use a smartphone or computer with a camera and internet connection. If we feel that a video visit would be the best option for you, you will be sent an email invitation with instructions on how to attend the visit. Please ensure your email address is up to date and if you are not receiving the invitation as expected, please check your Junk folder.

We ask patients to bear with us if we experience staffing shortages.  We will continue to make every effort to maintain our office services as much as possible, with the minimum disruption to your care. We may be slower to answer phone calls or messages. Please be patient and bear with us as we do our best to meet your needs during this outbreak.  Our staff are very dedicated to continuing to provide the care you need.  It will just look a little different than usual.

IMPORTANT:  there is no treatment for COVID19 unless you have an, otherwise, complex condition, ie. COPD, diabetes, or are immunosuppressed.  If you have symptoms you would ordinarily associate with flu, - see chart below - seeing a doctor, going to the ER, or getting tested, will not change the advice.  The advice will continue to be:

COVID19 Symptoms:

Almost Always

Common

Sometimes

•  Fever

•  Fatigue

•  Nausea

•  Cough

•  Muscle Aches

•  Vomiting

•  Difficulty breathing

•  Sore throat

•  Diarrhea

•  Headache

•  Pneumonia

•  Decreased appetite

•  Kidney failure

•  Runny nose

How to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus Infections:

Don't panic! Be rational and keep yourself informed


Avoid travel - Especially by air or public transportation, especially out of Canada. If you must (think about what that word really means) travel, choose the most isolated mode of transportation and monitor yourself closely for symptoms once you return. If you have been in a high-risk area, it is advisable to self-quarantine for 2 weeks if you are able to do so, even if you are not officially required to.


Practice social distancing - Avoid social gatherings and crowds. If you have to get together with people, do so in open areas if possible and do your best to stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others. Work from home if you are able.

Wash your hands and don't touch your face! COVID-19 is thought to be spread via "droplets", which means that close contact with those who are infected will put you at risk. Droplets are spread from infected patients when they cough, sneeze, or breathe. The most common way for them to enter your body is when you touch your face (eyes, nose and mouth) with contaminated hands. The best way to wash your hands is with soap and water for 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer doesn't work as well but is better than nothing. Wearing gloves is not recommended for the general public, as it often gives people a false sense of security and they become lax with their hand hygiene, thinking the gloves will protect them.

If You Think You Have COVID-19:
Currently, the only patients at high risk of contracting the virus in Canada are those with a history of international travel (including USA) and their close contacts. However, we expect that as the numbers of cases in Canada grow, travel history and known contact with confirmed cases will become less relevant. The symptoms of COVID-19 significantly overlap with many other respiratory viruses so it will be increasingly difficult to know who has it and who doesn't. The most common symptoms of the virus are:
    -Fever
    -Cough
    -Shortness of Breath

If you have severe symptoms, please DO NOT come to our doctor's office or go to a walk in clinic, as we do not have the proper testing equipment or personal protective equipment to safely see and assess you without putting ourselves or our other patients at risk. If your symptoms are severe and/or you have an underlying condition which puts you at greater risk, please go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

Click here for information on local COVID-19 Assessment Centres

As I'm sure you have heard, Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) has officially reached pandemic status. While Canada has only reported cases in returning travelers and their close contacts, it's only a matter of time until we start to see local spread.  While children and young people can get COVID-19, they may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Despite this, they can still transmit the virus. Older patients and those with poorly functioning immune and respiratory systems seem to be at highest risk of severe and critical infections.

There is currently no known vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 so prevention is key. This new virus is obviously not something to be taken lightly, however, can be effectively managed with the proper attention to preventative measures.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding! We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more about this pandemic. In the meantime, please do your part to help keep us all safe.

Be well.

Kim Bell

Executive Director