December 2020 Update

Dear Patients of Spectrum,

Even though we are firmly into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia continues to do comparatively well on a per-capita basis when matched against other regions.  We owe this to the measures that we all continue to take to minimize our risk of acquiring the virus or passing it on to others.  We would like to thank all of you for wearing masks when visiting Spectrum, and for arriving on time for appointments so that we minimize traffic through the waiting area. The building doors will remain locked so dial #0702 on the intercom in to access the 7th floor. As a reminder masks must be worn at all times during your visit – including in the lobby, elevator, and clinic proper.  We continue to work hard to keep things running as smoothly as possible despite the challenges inherent in working remotely much of the time.  Many of you may have noticed that not all doctors are available for in-person visits each day.  We’ve staggered our days in clinic and continue to do most of our work by telemedicine to keep you and our staff safe.  So far this strategy has been effective but of course this often means longer wait times for in-person visits, or seeing a provider other than your usual doctor in urgent situations.  Likewise, many of our usual workflow routines have gone online and require faxing or phoning orders for tests when we previously would have asked you to personally bring a form to a lab, X-ray department, or pharmacy.  This new workflow takes much more telephone manpower and that’s why you may experience long waits on hold with the clinic.  We have substantially increased the number of staff who are answering phones at Spectrum, as well as the number of active phone lines.  However, phone traffic still seems to back up at various times of day.  I assure you we are doing our best to help you in a timely fashion and please try and be patient if you are caught in a telephone queue.  If you’re not using our patient portal already, consider signing up so that you can book or change appointments online, view lab results and documents, and receive messages from your physician about results.  This may save a little time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our use of electronic communication such as phone and video visits, email, and the patient portal. In response to this, we have developed an agreement outlining how we plan to keep your confidential health information safe and how we are using each platform to provide care. Certain methods of electronic communication have more inherent risk than others that you should be aware of. Click HERE to review the complete agreement on our website.

Because each physician’s in-clinic schedule is variable and is determined about 2 months in advance, you may find that an appointment you booked in the future may need to be adjusted when schedules are finalized.  Likewise, there have been occasions where physicians or nurses have been required to self-isolate after a COVID-19 exposure or await a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work.  Please understand that these rare occurrences are unavoidable and unpredictable and will require some flexibility on everyone’s part.  We recognize that it can be a nuisance when we make last minute schedule changes and therefore will do our best to avoid it if at all possible.

By now we’re sure you’ve heard about the success of recent clinical trials of several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.  If the vaccine is as effective as clinical trials suggest, and enough of our population receives the vaccine, then rates of COVD-19 will decline and perhaps we’ll start to see the end of the pandemic.  We are all very excited to be given access to the clinical trial data to be sure we are very confident with the safety of the vaccines before making any recommendations.  Unfortunately, we don’t have any more information than what is readily accessible through the media these days and can’t answer specific questions about the vaccine or when each of you might get it. We will provide updates via email and our website as soon as we receive more concrete direction from public health.  In the meantime, we ask that you avoid calling the clinic to ask about vaccine details.  For vaccine information visit the BCCDC’s website ( from time to time for current guidelines.

Our clinic holiday hours are:

Dec 21 – Dec 23: 9am – 5pm (Closed for lunch on Dec 23 from 1-2pm)
Dec 24: 9am – 12pm
Dec 25: CLOSED

Dec 28 – Dec 30: 9am – 5pm (Closed for lunch on Dec 30 from 1-2pm)
Dec 31: 9am – 12pm
January 1: CLOSED
2020 has been a challenging year and will leave an indelible mark of all of our lives.  Your Spectrum team wishes you, your family, and friends a happy and socially distanced holiday and a sense of optimism for 2021.

– Your Spectrum Health Team

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