Dr. Lakshmikanth Challa and his team at the New Pitt Meadows Medical Clinic want to remind the community family doctors are still seeing patients. (Contributed)

Dr. Lakshmikanth Challa and his team at the New Pitt Meadows Medical Clinic want to remind the community family doctors are still seeing patients. (Contributed)

Doctors still seeing patients in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

Appointments over the phone or by videoconference

Walk-in clinics and family doctors are still seeing patients by telephone or by video.

Lately Dr. Lakshmikanth Challa and his team at the New Pitt Meadows Medical Clinic have been seeing zero wait times at their clinic and they are concerned.

“A lot of people phoning don’t realize that the clinics are still open,” said office manager Terese Lang.

READ MORE: Doctors at Maple Ridge hospital plead for people, especially young people, to stay home

Doctors are still seeing patients, said Lang, but just in a different way.

What patients are being asked to do, said Dr. Challa, is get in touch with their family doctor or walk-in clinic and schedule an appointment.

If it is deemed necessary to have a physical examination they will be asked to schedule a time to go to the clinic.

Patients will then be asked to wait in their cars until their appointment.

Only after being screened for COVID-19, any symptoms of the virus or if they have been in touch with anyone else with COVID-19, will then be allowed into the clinic.

READ MORE: ‘We need to do more’: Fraser Health doctors send dire letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry

“There are no people waiting in the waiting rooms,” Dr. Challa emphasized, adding that they are not only working to reduce the burden on emergency rooms and working to reduce anxiety in patients, but that it is important to see your regular doctor because they have a record of your medical history.

Maple Ridge physician, Dr. Michael Stewart, has also seen an alarming drop in patient appointments.

“Although the virus is top of mind right now, people still need ongoing care and advice for acute or chronic conditions requiring treatment or medication,” said Stewart.

Last week the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, a nonprofit society that represents physicians in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, launched a temporary clinic where local family doctors and specialists can safely see patients in person.

The Primary Care Network Pop-up Physician Clinic offers special equipment, procedures and cleaning protocol to prevent virus transmission.

“Our medical community is one of the first in the province to have access to this type of space, which will provide our physicians and specialists with an additional option for patient care during COVID-19,” said RMDFP executive director Treena Innes.

Family physicians will continue to refer patients to specialists as needed.

Seniors living at home, those with disabilities, or who consider themselves at high risk to catch the virus are also being asked by the RMDFP to contact their doctors for advice.

“We don’t want people to get infected. We don’t want to take them out of their house or isolation unless absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Challa.

This situation could go on for months, noted Lang.

“If people aren’t addressing their regular issues that they need or are saving them up for when it is all over, it’s going to be crazy,” said Lang.

Or they will end up having to go to emergency, she added.

Doctors will return to seeing their patients face-to-face on a regular basis once social distancing measures have been lifted.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusDoctors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dan Joseph shared a sunset picture looking out over the Fraser River. What does the sunset look like for you today (Mother’s Day). (Special to The News)
SHARE: What does the sunset look like for you tonight?

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Hikaru Ozduman won Outstanding Effort at the 33rd annual British Columbia Japanese Speech Contest. (SD42/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge student earns award for speech – in Japanese

The 33rd annual British Columbia Japanese Speech Contest was held virtually in March

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge man suggests those who flout COVID rules forego taxpayer health-care

People following rules to help end pandemic frustrated by those who don’t, letter writer says

Ken Nunes is one of hundreds who venture out onto Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park when the sun comes out. “Here’s how I see Maple Ridge,” he said. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Nice weather draws people to the water

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read