The new Urgent and Primary Care Centre that opened six months ago next to the Ridge Meadows Hospital, is urgently needed, more than ever. But it’s no longer a walk-in clinic.
The centre, located in Baillie House when it opened in October, was intended to supplement regular walk-in clinics so people were able to have streamlined access to nurses and doctors, while avoiding trips to the emergency department.
But now the Urgent and Primary Care Centre is being used as a COVID-19 testing centre – for referral patients only.
To get a test, you must be referred there, either by your doctor or after calling 811 and receiving a referral from that service.
“All patients require a referral from their family physician or 811 to access testing at this site,” said Fraser Health spokesperson Aletta Vanderheyden.
“This site is not a walk-in clinic for the public.”
However, people contacting their doctors – must first call their doctors’ offices before showing up – so that physicians can properly prepare and protect themselves and staff.
She added that COVID-19 testing is for patients who have been assessed by their family physician, or 811, as requiring testing, but not requiring acute care support.
“We are opening testing sites like this to deter people from going to the emergency department for COVID-19 testing and to support community physicians who are unable to perform the test at their clinics,” Vanderheyden said.
In most cases, patients are tested on the same day they are referred for COVID-19 testing. But it can take up to 96 hours to get test results. During this time, people are asked to self-isolate, she added.
According to Fraser Health, testing is available for all who need it, but not everyone requires a test. Testing continues for those who are part of an active investigation or outbreak cluster, those with severe illness who are hospitalized, residents of long-term care facilities and health-care workers.
“If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or are a returning traveller and isolating at home, you do not require a test,” she said.
If people have severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department, said the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Fraser Health also has a web hub that addresses the issue.