Bluewater Health opening COVID-19 assessment centre and restricting visitors

Main entrance at Bluewater Health's Sarnia hospital. Photo by Meghan Bond.

Bluewater Health is opening a dedicated assessment centre Saturday for residents who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing.

Chief of Staff Dr. Mike Haddad said that includes individuals who have been in contact with confirmed cases and are symptomatic and individuals who are hospitalized, or in long term care or retirement homes, with severe respiratory illness.

Haddad stresses, people who are concerned about potential exposure are asked to call their primary care providers first.

He said these family doctors and nurse practitioners are in touch with Lambton Public Health and are best able to determine if individuals require a test and meet the criteria.

If it is determined that a test is required, primary care providers will be providing patients with a referralĀ form and direct the patient to return home to self-quarantine.

If individuals are acutely ill they should proceed to the emergency department.

Once the clinic, which is based outside Sarnia’s hospital, receives the referral they will contact the patient to set the appointment and provide detailed instructions.

Haddad said it is not a walk-in clinic.

He said they are working to establish a second, rural assessment centre close to the hospital in Petrolia.

Bluewater Health also announced Friday that visitor restrictions are being implemented at its Petrolia and Sarnia sites.

24 hour visiting has been suspended and starting Saturday at 11 a.m. patients will be limited to two visitors from the same household for the duration of their stay between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. The restrictions are in place until further notice.

Visitors will be required to check in at the nurses station and asked not to visit if they are feeling ill.