The referral-only COVID-19 clinic in the Comox Valley opened on March 23. File Photo

COVID-19 referral-only clinic opens in the Comox Valley

The referral-only clinic in Comox Valley opened on March 23.

A referral-only COVID-19 clinic in the Comox Valley has opened.

To increase the ability to support current testing strategies, Island Health is actively working to open more COVID-19 referral-only screening and assessment clinics across Vancouver Island in the coming days.

The referral-only clinic in Comox Valley opened on March 23.

RELATED: COVID-19: Victoria gets testing clinic; more to come across Island Health

Island Health noted it is important that people do not call or attend a screening clinic. Access is by referral and appointment only. It is also important to understand that the majority of people will not meet the requirement for assessment and screening at a clinic and do not require testing.

According to the latest guidance from the BCCDC, people who should be tested are those with respiratory symptoms who are:

· Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized

· Health Care Workers

· Residents of long-term care facilities

· Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak

People who do not need to be tested include:

· People without symptoms

· People with mild respiratory symptoms that can be managed in self-isolation at home

· Returning travellers with no symptoms or mild symptoms that can be managed in self-isolation at home

They note if you are experiencing symptoms (such as new fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing) or are concerned you have been exposed to COVID-19, the BCCDC has an online self-assessment tool: https://covid19.thrive.health/.

People can also contact their primary care provider or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to be assessed. Only those deemed as meeting the requirement for testing will be referred to a screening clinic.

The Ministry of Health and Island Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing – to self-isolate for at least 10 days. People experiencing these symptoms do not require testing.

If you are healthy, to protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain a distance of about two metres from others.

Health authorities across B.C. are being asked to set up referral-only screening and assessment clinics in a way that makes sense for the unique communities they serve and Island Health will continue to actively assess the need in communities across our region.

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is the recommended resource for provincial information that is accurate and current: http://www.bccdc.ca/. Information is being updated frequently on the site at this time and individuals are encouraged to check back regularly (e.g., daily).

Island Health also has frequently updated information on their website: www.islandhealth.ca/COVID19

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