After North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) led the way, smaller surrounding communities are following suit.
Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health at the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit says there are three others, with a centre operating in Parry Sound at the mall, at the Marcel Noel Hall in Sturgeon Falls under the West Nipissing General Hospital, and another will open in Mattawa at the Mike Rodden Arena and Community Centre.
According to the health unit, these assessment centres are by appointments only, and walk-ins are prohibited. However, not every patient who attends one of these centres will be swabbed.
In a video posted by NBRHC showing a behind-the-scenes look at the assessment centre, Dr. Ian Cowan, who is the doctor in the video, said: “We’re the ones that actually decide whether they require a nasopharyngeal swab which is a small device which is inserted into your nose and from there we collect a sample.”
The assessment centres are asking if you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms, to call the health unit first at 1-800-563-2808 instead of attending an emergency department. The patient will be asked for basic intake information and they will be called back by a clinician for next steps.
The following criteria must be met for an appointment at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre:
- Fever (over 38 degrees Celsius) and/or cough (new or worsening)
- Exposure History within the last 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms:
- Travel outside of Canada
- Had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
- Had close contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 who recently travelled outside of Canada
For those that require immediate medical attention, the assessment centres say to call 9-1-1 and mention your travel history