A website and assessment centre have now been established in Abbotsford to deal with the novel coronavirus.
The Abbotsford COVID-19 Assessment and Response Program is a new website created by the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice in collaboration with the City of Abbotsford and health-care partners.
Anyone with respiratory symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath and/or fever is now requested to visit AbbotsfordCovidResponse.com.
A survey on the website asks individuals to identify whether they have a high fever and a continuous cough.
Michelle Favero, executive director of the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice, said anyone who has both of those symptoms is taken to another page to fill out their name and contact information.
They are then contacted within 12 to 24 hours by a health-care worker for further screening and to book an appointment at the assessment centre.
Favero said the centre is in a public location, but the address is not being released to prevent people from showing up there without prior screening.
Those who are referred to the centre are then screened by a nurse at a drive-thru, and are directed to a parking stall.
At their appointment, they are seen by either a physician or a nurse practitioner, at which time a COVID-19 test could be performed.
Favero said any positive results will be lumped in with provincial numbers.
She said there will be two doctors on site at all times and a minimum of three to five nurses, with more than 100 appointments available each day.
Favero said people in need of medical attention will be directed to the hospital, where they will connect with a group prepared to handle their situation. Individuals who are ill will not have to go through the waiting area or triage.
Those who do not need hospitalization will receive further directions. Favero said anyone who needs a follow-up will be contacted by their family doctor by phone or through virtual care.
If they don’t have a family doctor for follow-up, one will be assigned to them through the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice.
The website went live on Monday, and the assessment centre was open for a half day on Tuesday, with a fully booked schedule.
Wednesday is the first full day of appointments.
Favero emphasized that people must first go through the online survey and the follow-up screening before it can be determined whether they require an appointment at the assessment centre.
She said anyone with symptoms should not go to their doctor or pharmacy, and only go to the hospital if they have a medical emergency.
Favero said the partners in the initiative began working on a coordinated effort on Saturday.
“The City of Abbotsford has done great work in mobilizing and supporting the clinic so we could get it off the ground in such a quick way,” she said.
Dr. Caroline Cook, co-chair of the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice, said the site will help reduce community transmission at clinics and doctors’ office, “giving those with compromised immune systems or other health issues, who may be at higher risk, continued access to care.”
The Abbotsford Division of Family Practice is a non-profit society that speaks on behalf of local family doctors in matters that affect the community.