Burnaby’s Primary Care Networks unveiled its COVID-19 Response Strategy on Friday, with a dedicated website, a satellite testing and treatment centre, and other items to help local residents deal with the pandemic.
“The strategy aims to address not only residents’ and patients’ direct medical issues surrounding COVID-19, but other serious issues the crisis also raises – the financial impact felt by individuals, families and organizations and the social and psychological impact we all feel through the need for social distancing as prime examples,” says a news release. “Burnaby’s strategy will also work to address some of the very specific needs of the most vulnerable in our community, including the homeless and under-housed and seniors living at home.”
The dedicated website is www.burnabycoronavirus.com and it’s where the community can go to self-assess and determine where they need to go next in the city to get the care or treatment they need.
The website is available in several languages. Its self-assessment tool includes items from the provincial tool on the BCCDC website combined with guidance tailored to Burnaby’s services.
It also offers a call-back option to anyone who is feeling anxious and wishes to speak with someone, with professional counsellors and social workers returning these calls.
In the first few days, the site has seen almost 3,000 visitors, about half of whom completed the self-assessment. For those who can’t access the website, there is a telephone option where callers can request a call back in multiple languages.
“This phone line was set up to ensure everyone is Burnaby has access to the information that they need, especially our senior and immigrant populations,” said a news release.
The call centre is staffed by Burnaby Division of Family Practice staff and Community agencies – those needing assistance receive a call-back and are walked through the self-assessment tool.
Central COVID-19 Site
With the self-assessment tool as the cornerstone for assessment, information and direction to care, the response strategy also includes a temporary central COVID-19 site operated as a satellite site of the Edmonds Urgent Care Centre.
This will function as Burnaby’s central assessment, testing and treatment facility, says the news release.
This site is located in the parking lot beside the Central Park Pool and provides further care only to those who have completed the online or phone self-assessment tool and who have either been:
1. Directly referred to the COVID site by the tool.
2. Who were directed by the self-assessment tool to a virtual care visit with their family physician who subsequently determined that an in person visit referral is needed.
“We are asking the public not to proceed to this site unless they have been referred,” said the news release.
A separate entrance and sequestered sterile treatment area have also been designated in the Edmonds UPCC for COVID-19 patients. It is providing some limited care options for those suspected to be or infected with COVID, again only as referred, because others in the community will still be able to access urgent care during the UPCC’s regular hours. “We want to ensure that urgent and primary care services for non-COVID-19 related needs can be preserved and still accessed safely by the public during this time.”
Many family doctors and nurse practitioners in Burnaby are moving to provide alternate care for their patients. At a time when everyone is being asked to stay at home, virtual care options, including telephone and online visits, are being offered by many primary care providers in Burnaby. For those whose primary care provider can’t provide a virtual or telemedicine option, or for people who don’t have a primary care provider, MedCare+ is providing a virtual clinic service that is also functioning as a support service for Burnaby residents and extension of the Edmonds UPCC services. Appointments can be booked by visiting their website www.medcareplus.ca.
“With a very real threat of family practice clinics being overrun by people who are or think they might be infected, and the accompanying risk of infection spread that they bring to other patients and primary care providers, the processes being put in place provide safer, more timely options for assessment and care, including options other than face-to-face visits for all patients.”