Bluewater Health implementing protocol for COVID-19

Bluewater Health Emergency entrance at the Sarnia site. file photo.

Bluewater Health has implemented a special protocol to handle COVID-19 at its Sarnia and Petrolia hospitals.

Chief of Staff Dr. Mike Haddad says those who believe they may be at risk of having novel coronavirus, or who wish to be tested, are asked to call their primary care provider first and not head directly to the emergency department.

Haddad said primary care providers will assess if you require testing and if so, you will be directed to follow a specific process to access the emergency department.

“What we’re trying to tell the public is, if you suspect you have it and you’re healthy enough to be at home, then it’s best to self isolate for 14 days until you get better,” said Haddad. “If you are sick enough to be in hospital then we have to treat you, just like any other sick patient who needs to be in the hospital, regardless if they have influenza, COVID-19, TB or anything else.”

He said coming to the hospital with very mild symptoms may reduce their capacity to deal with more urgent needs.

Haddad said they’re working to establish a community-based assessment centre and until that time primary care providers will work with the hospital and public health to ensure patients are tested safely if appropriate.

Bluewater Health and Lambton Public Health continue to closely monitor the situation and say the risk across Lambton County remains low.