People who are pre-screened can go to the COVID-19 assessment centre in Abbotsford, where they enter a drive-thru for another screening. They can then be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner, after which a COVID-19 test could be performed. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

People who are pre-screened can go to the COVID-19 assessment centre in Abbotsford, where they enter a drive-thru for another screening. They can then be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner, after which a COVID-19 test could be performed. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

400 people assessed for COVID-19 at Abbotsford centre

Website and centre have been running for over a week

More than 800 people in the last week have been contacted about their health concerns through the new Abbotsford COVID-19 website, and 400 people have been tested at the assessment centre.

But the number of positive cases in Abbotsford is not being released; instead, it is added to the daily provincial numbers.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said she will not release the number of confirmed cases in each community because she wants people everywhere to follow the protocols for curbing the spread of the virus, regardless of the numbers in any given location.

The Abbotsford website and assessment centre was opened last week by the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice in collaboration with the City of Abbotsford and health-care partners.

Anyone with respiratory symptoms is asked to first go to the website (AbbotsfordCovidResponse.com) and do the online survey.

Those with symptoms of COVID-19 are then contacted by a health-care worker for further screening and to book an appointment at the assessment centre, located at MSA Arena. (People are reminded to not show up there without an appointment.)

Those who are referred to the centre are then screened by a nurse at a drive-thru and are then seen either by a doctor or nurse practitioner, after which a COVID-19 test could be performed.

Dr. Caroline Cook, co-chair of the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice, said it is currently taking 30 hours to get to those who have put their name in to be contacted.

“We appreciate the patience of the public as we through through your requests on the website,” she said.

Cook said, with resources provided by Fraser Health, the backlog should be cleared and respondents will be contacted within 12 hours by this weekend.

Another strategy being undertaken by local doctors is that many are now seeing patients by phone and/or videoconference.

Those who don’t have a family doctor can visit medimap.ca and search “Abbotsford” for a list of medical clinics that are providing virtual visits, phone visits and/or in-person visits.

It is recommended that anyone wanting an appointment should call first to determine the best way to be seen in their condition.

The Division of Family Practice is also seeking donations of unused medical supplies such as N95 masks, disposable gowns, nitrile gloves and goggles. Anyone who can help is asked to call 604-746-3302.

The division is a non-profit society that speaks on behalf of Abbotsford family physicians in matters that affect the community.

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Coronavirus