Dear Patients of Spectrum,
Although British Columbia still sets an example for managing the spread of COVID-19 we are now seeing an uptick of cases around the province. This should serve as a reminder that COVID-19 is still circulating and we must remain vigilant to prevent the expansive growth in cases we see even just south of the border. We recommend that you continue to wear a mask when physical distancing may be difficult – such as when you are at the grocery store or if you visit Spectrum. We also suggest that you keep an eye on recent public exposure information which can be found on the BCCDC website (http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/public-exposures http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/public-exposures). This site maintains a list of public spaces where a positive case has been present, for example at Lions Bay Beach and PumpJack Pub which I suspect some readers of this email will be familiar with. If it turns out you have had an exposure to COVID-19, isolate yourself and monitor for symptoms. If you have symptoms, make a telephone appointment with a doctor or nurse who will guide you on what your next steps should be. There is no need for a COVID-19 test unless you have symptoms and we still do not have access to an antibody test to look for prior exposure.
Despite the slight increase in new COVID-19 cases in BC we do feel it is safe to have blood taken or enter a medical facility for elective surgeries and other procedures. So, we ask that if you have regular blood tests to monitor your blood thinner, diabetes, HIV, or HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – it’s time to head back to the lab. St. Paul’s Hospital laboratory is open once again but they recommend you book an appointment in advance using the following link (https://www.labonlinebooking.ca/login). Likewise, we recommend that you book in advance if you use LifeLabs (https://www.lifelabs.com/book-an-appointment). Please note, if your doctor or nurse faxes a requisition to LifeLabs for blood testing it can take up to 24 hours before it will appear in their system so please keep that in mind when arranging a time to visit.
Spectrum Health continues to offer in-person appointments after a pre-screening telephone call by a doctor or nurse. As you know we are doing our best to minimize traffic through our waiting room by staggering appointments and conducting the majority of visits over the phone or by video. We ask that unless you have a booked appointment, or you are quickly picking up a medication, form or an STI self testing kit, please do not come to the clinic. We are seeing an increase in the number of people walking in to the clinic without an appointment and this may put our staff, and vulnerable patients at risk. At this time, we still have a hold on performing routine physical examinations with the exception of driver’s medical examinations for those who require them.
We are pleased to announce that we have a new full-time nurse at Spectrum, Jennifer Blattler. She comes to us after years of experience working in the emergency room and we are happy to have her join our team. This news comes as our beloved nurse Brian Warnke retires. Brian has guided so many in our community with his wisdom and caring over the years. We’re still not sure how we are going to maintain our exceptional vaccination statistics without him!
As COVID-19 rolls along it’s natural to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Unfortunately we don’t have a guidebook to help us navigate the uncertainty this virus brings. The BCCDC has published some resources that you may find useful (http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/about-covid-19/mental-well-being-during-covid-19). Thankfully, even though the number of new cases is slightly increasing, there have been no new COVID-19 related deaths in British Columbia in the last week. So, there’s still room for optimism amid this relentless pandemic.
Until our next update, stay distanced, stay sensible, and stay well.
-Your Spectrum Team