Hope’s medical centre and walk-in clinic are moving to ‘seeing’ patients over the phone, and the waiting room at the 4th Avenue clinic has been virtually empty for the past two days said manager Jo-Anne Hislop.
In a rapidly evolving response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of a virus which now has 348 cases in British Columbia of which 95 are in the Fraser Health region, the medical clinic is moving appointments, follow-ups as well as prescription refills to phone-based meetings.
The Fraser Canyon walk-in clinic may also be closed next week as Hislop said there is very little need for it at the moment. Specialist services run out of the walk-in clinic have been cancelled, such as physiotherapy and specialists who come to Hope on a weekly basis.
Rather than coming in to the medical centre or walk-in, people are asked to call 604-869-5648. Opening hours for the centre are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.
People with mild symptoms including mild respiratory symptoms, stuffy noses or tickles in their throats are being instructued to self-isolate for 14 days. These symptoms are widespread right now, Hislop said, with cold and flu season wrapping up and seasonal allergies starting up.
“Right now is a bad time because everyone seems to have a cold or the flu, as well, and spring hay fever and all sorts of those kind of things,” she said.
Last week, patients were still being brought into the medical clinic and swabbed for testing. With new provincial guidelines, Hislop said tests are now only being conducted for people either residing at the Hope hospital or being admitted to the hospital with symptoms including a high fever, cough or shortness of breath Hislop said.
There are restrictions for visitors to the hospital – most departments only allow one visitor at a time for each patient – and the long-term care facility adjacent to the hospital – the Fraser Hope Lodge – has closed to visitors.
Reports of gloves and masks for healthcare workers running low, and worries about testing swabs running out have been circulating in Hope, but have not yet been independently confirmed by the Hope Standard.
We have requested an interview with Fraser Health, this report will be updated when more information is received.
Across the province, two dozen healthcare workers have been affected by the virus said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. They are recovering from “relatively mind symptoms” she added.