By: Mike Anderson
While the number of positive cases of COVID-19 has risen to eight in York Region, all of the cases have been travel-related and the risk to residents remains low.
Still, most medical experts say that it’s just a matter of time before we begin to see the virus spreading through community transmission.
In anticipation of a possible surge in cases, the province opened its first dedicated assessment centres this week, including Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill.
The province says this will ease pressures on hospital emergency departments, while providing “higher-quality care” to “protect broader patient populations.”
Additional assessment centres will be announced in the coming weeks, according to a news release issued on March 12. However, “regions without an assessment centre will continue to be serviced by their local hospitals or primary care settings.”
The Post contacted York Region Public Health and Southlake Regional Health Centre to find out where the nearest assessment centre may be located, but as of posting there has been no response.
The province will also be launching an online self-assessment tool which will help residents determine if they have contracted COVID-19 and, if necessary, direct them where to seek care.
Other measures include a new physician billing code for telephone assessments, so primary care providers can conduct assessments over the phone — keeping ill people at home, rather than potentially exposing patients in waiting rooms to the virus.
The province is also considering adopting at-home testing.
The province says it will also dedicate more resources to Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) to allow it to handle increased call volumes, after reports some people have been waiting hours for a response.
York Region Public Health (YRPH) is now updating their website twice daily at 10.45 a.m. and 5.45 p.m. to provide the latest information, including a chart that summarizes the positive cases. This information can be viewed at www.york.ca/covid19
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