For people with symptoms of COVID-19, testing can now be done at the Medical Clinic Associates clinic in Westview.
Dr. Gareth Evans said the clinic has started screening people on a drive-through basis down the back alley that runs behind the clinic off Alberni Street.
“We are doing this in an effort to provide some swabbing capacity in the community outside of the emergency department [in the hospital],” said Evans. “The focus is on people who are showing symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection, but not so sick that they need to be seen in hospital.
“For example, this would include mild symptoms such as fever, loss of taste or smell, mild shortness of breath or cough. These are things that would be appropriate for people to come and schedule an appointment to get swabbed.”
Evans said at this time, swabs are only recommended for people who have symptoms of COVID-19.
“We are asking people who are not showing any symptoms to refrain from coming in, just because we don’t have the resources to be swabbing asymptomatic patients,” added Evans.
So far there seems to be a lot of interest, and on September 9, when he was interviewed, Evans said the COVID-19 clinic was busy.
“We are working hard to make sure we have enough capacity to swab as many people as we can at this time,” said Evans. “There is still also swabbing available at the emergency department, and certainly, if people are feeling unwell and are having trouble breathing, they should consider going directly to the emergency department instead of coming here.”
Evans said the process for having a swab arranged can involve referral after discussion with a patient’s regular family physician, or self-referral. He said there is a link on the clinic website that will ask for information such as a care card number, date of birth and phone number, so representatives of Medical Clinic Associates can contact the individual to arrange a time.
“The swabs are being done by appointment,” said Evans. “We are asking people to drive up behind the clinic and be as close to on time as possible. We take the swab through the car door or window and they are assessed by a physician doing the swab. When they are done they can drive through the back of the parking lot.”
To self-refer, patients can go to powellrivermedicalclinic.ca/covid-19. If people have questions, they can also talk to their regular family physicians.
Evans said the clinic asks people to be patient waiting for the call-back.
“We are trying to manage as much volume as we can with somewhat limited capacity,” said Evans. “It seems the need for swabbing in the community is increasing, and so we are doing the best that we can now. We want people to be getting swabs who should be getting swabs.”
Evans said the clinic started offering swabs two weeks ago to clinic patients. What is new this week is the clinic has started taking referrals directly from self-referral and from physicians from other clinics in town.
“We’ve expanded it significantly this week; it has correlated with the recent outbreak in our area,” said Evans. “There seems to be a lot of need, quite suddenly.”