Update on COVID-19

March 27, 2020

Dear Patients,

 

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has left many of you feeling scared and isolated. We want you to know we are here for you. We will continue to provide medical care to our patients and their families in the safest way possible.

All of our physicians are still available to provide care for their patients. Given the current situation, we are doing our best to keep people from coming into the office unless necessary. If you have a medical concern, please call the office, and we will arrange for your doctor to call you back and provide medical advice. We are also looking into videoconferencing options, but we must weigh up its benefits against the risk of a privacy breach. If your doctor feels that an in-person appointment is required to provide proper care, we have instituted the following operational changes to make your visits as safe as possible:

  • When you arrive at the office building, remain in your vehicle and call the front desk to check in

  • Our front staff will either advise you to come in if there is an exam room ready, so that you do not have to spend any time in the waiting room; or

  • Our front staff will advise you to remain in your vehicle and will call you when an exam room is ready

  • Each room will be appropriately sanitized before and after your visit

  • We are limiting the amount of in-person visits to the clinic per day to the bare minimum to ensure optimized social distancing

Due to the challenges we currently face with government funding for virtual visits, and as some staff members are off work self-isolating, we have made the decision to shorten our hours of operation.

  • We will be closing our doors at 6 pm from Mondays to Thursdays, but we will still have staff managing the phone lines until 8 pm

  • Our evening physician will still be available for virtual appointments until 8 pm

  • Our after-hours service will also continue running, although care may be provided virtually where possible

  • Our walk-in services are available as well, but the above parameters will apply (i.e. we will try to manage these patients virtually and arrange only for those who need an in-person visit to come to the clinic).

An unfortunate consequence of this pandemic is that some patients with legitimate medical concerns have delayed seeking medical attention because they are terrified to go to the doctor's office. As a result, these medical issues become more severe, resulting in sicker patients needing more advanced care, and sometimes hospitalization. This is not ideal in the face of a pandemic. Help us keep patients out of the hospitals. Call us if you're in need of medical attention.

Sincerely, 

Your Physicians & Staff at WPMC

Last Updated March 27, 2020

** In attempts to minimize non-essential traffic through the clinic, it may be possible for some appointments to be done over the telephone with your doctor. Please note that some medical issues may require you to come into the office for a physical exam.

Dear Patients,

Alberta has had its first confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. If we are to limit its spread, we are going to have to pull together as a community. We have compiled responses to frequently asked questions to help our patients make the right decisions to achieve this goal.

What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?

Alberta Health Services has created a self-assessment tool to help you decide whether you should call Health Link 811. Click here to launch the self-assessment.

If you are experiencing any cold- or flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing)
   AND

You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada in the 14 days before illness onset (or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has been sick and travelled outside of Canada in the 14 days before illness onset)

   THEN

  • Stay home and call Health Link 811, you will likely be placed on hold, so please be patient as 811 is experiencing extremely high call volumes. You will be directed to a testing centre.

  • You will be instructed to "self-isolate" – stay at home and limit your contact with others in your home to avoid spread of the virus as far as possible.

  • DO NOT go to a doctor's office, a health care facility, or a lab without consulting with Health Link 811 first. Their trained health care professionals will assist you in making the most appropriate decision to help yourself and to protect others.

  • Call 911 if you are seriously ill and need immediate medical attention, and inform them you may have COVID-19.

What if I recently travelled?

If you returned after March 12:

  • ALL travellers returning from outside Canada – mandatory self-isolation for 14 days and monitor for symptoms

  • If symptoms develop, stay home and call Health Link 811 for testing

If you returned before March 12:

  • From Italy, Iran, China's Hubei province, and the Grand Princess cruise ship – mandatory self-isolation for 14 days and monitor for symptoms

  • From other countries outside Canada – monitor for symptoms for 14 days

  • If symptoms develop, stay home and call Health Link 811 for testing

Am I going to die if I get coronavirus?

 

The overwhelming majority of people who contract coronavirus will experience it like any other cold or flu, and will recover from it spontaneously after a few days. Those with serious illness are usually sickly or frail people with compromised immune systems, such as elderly patients and patients with poorly-controlled diabetes, cancer, or autoimmune diseases. This is why helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others is so important. Social distancing is necessary to help "flatten the curve."

In summary, Coronavirus has arrived in Alberta. No, we are not afraid of it. Yes, we are taking it seriously, but we are not panicking. We are being cautious even when the likelihood of exposure is small. We encourage you to do the same. We are still learning about this virus and will keep our patients updated as we find out more. 

We wish you all the best, and remember to wash your hands often and effectively with soap and water, and avoid touching your face.

Sincerely,

The Physician Team at WPMC

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild cold symptoms to severe illnesses.

Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • Respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze

  • Close personal contact (e.g. touching, shaking hands, kissing, sharing food/drinks/household items)

  • ​Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands​

Coronaviruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.​

How Can I Protect Myself?

Influenza and other common viruses remain the most common causes of respiratory illness.

Good hygiene practices can help protect yourself and others from the spread of viruses, including coronavirus and influenza:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing "Happy Birthday" or "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star").

  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes and wash your hands after doing so.

  • Stay home and away from others if you are feeling ill.

  • If you are sick, wearing a mask helps prevent passing the illness to others. Wash your hands before and after putting on and removing masks.

  • If you are healthy, medical masks are not recommended as they do not provide adequate protection, can create a false sense of security, and actually increase frequency of face-touching.

Learn More about COVID-19

Here are some informative and credible resources for you to learn more about COVID-19 and what is being done to protect Albertans:

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Edmonton, Alberta T6W 2Z8

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