Lennox and Addington County General Hospital is reorganizing its emergency department in preparation for assessment, screening, testing and treating of COVID-19.
A protocol is now in place that asks all non-emergency patients, including those with a suspected COVID-19 infection, to phone LACGH’s emergency department triage at 613-354-8247 or 1-833-354-3301 before entering the building. They can call from their home or the hospital’s parking lot. Anyone experiencing a serious medical emergency can go directly inside the emergency room.
To limit the risk of spread, a COVID-19 assessment will be done outside the emergency department while the patient remains in their vehicle.
“A lot of (the assessment) can be done by telephone,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, chief of staff at LACGH. “Some people do need to be assessed in person and they are swabbed and we can do that outside like a drive-through type of arrangement where you don’t have to get out of your car, you don’t have to come into the hospital, we’ll come out to you. Those that are sick with significant symptoms need to be seen. We would bring them in in a controlled, safe way for the patients and the health care provider to test if necessary and more importantly, treat.”
Though there is still the potential for serious medical complications to arise, most COVID-19 cases remain mild. As such, someone presenting symptoms isn’t necessarily an emergency.
“Current Public Health recommendations are if your symptoms are mild, stay home and practice strict self isolation,” said Morrison. “You don’t go outside to the grocery store. Have people bring you things, have your own set of towels.”
“If at any point they’re worried about their symptoms, their breathing is getting worse, absolutely call the hospital and our nurses will walk you through some questions and then together decide what the best way to be seen is if you need to be seen,” added Morrison.
Though numbers of positive cases continue to rise daily, that doesn’t mean physical distancing isn’t working.
“We know the numbers will go up,” said Morrison. “We’re hoping to slow the spread of how quickly they go up. That’s the prime mandate of this social distancing and self isolation that we’re really encouraging people to do to slow that curve, so that not everybody gets sick at the same time and overwhelm the healthcare system.”
Morrison welcomed the government’s shut down of non-essential services as well.
“Anything we can do to limit how fast this can spread between people is only going to help us,” she said.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed to COVID-19 for any reason or have symptoms of infection there are several additional options in addition to LACGH’s centre to assist you.
- Ontario COVID-19 Online Assessment Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0
- Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000
- Attend the COVID-19 Assessment Center at the Memorial Center in Kingston.
To learn more about COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, visit www.Kflaph.ca/Coronavirus or www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus.