A referral-only drive-through COVID-19 screening clinic has opened in Cowichan. Island Health has emphasized that only those with appointments will be accepted at the clinic. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Island Health opens more referral-only COVID-19 testing clinics in Cowichan, Alberni

Patients must be referred by their primary care provider or an 811 nurse

Referral-only COVID-19 screening clinic have opened in the Cowichan and Alberni valleys, joining others recently opened in Victoria and Nanaimo, and expected in Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

“The situation is evolving quickly and our strategies are evolving to keep people in the communities we serve safe,” Island Health advised.

The clinics are in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

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

BC CDC says those who should be screened are those with respiratory symptoms who work in health care, those who are hospitalized or likely to be hospitalized, long-term care facility residents, and those who are part of the investigation of a cluster outbreak.

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Most everyone else likely doesn’t need testing, including those with mild respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, travellers with the onset of an illness within 14 days of returning to Canada and also those without symptoms.

Still worried?

There’s an online self-assessment tool that’s free to access. It can be found at https://covid19.thrive.health/.

Moreover, concerned people can also call their primary care provider or HealthLink BC at 811 to be assessed.

“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 14 days. People experiencing these symptoms do not require testing. To protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain a distance of about two metres from others.”

To keep tabs on the rapidly changing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic visit http://www.bccdc.ca and islandhealth.ca/COVID19.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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