Local COVID testing centre loosens restrictions

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Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s (CKHA) COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now offering asymptomatic risk-based testing.

CKHA officials say this is in response to the province’s evolving COVID-19 testing guidelines.

It comes three days after announcing the assessment centre was taking self-referrals from people who feared they might have the virus due to the symptoms they were showing.

This after weeks of only accepting referrals from Telehealth or health-care providers.

No Ontarian who is symptomatic or who is concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19 will be declined a test at an assessment centre.  CKHA advises patients to continue booking an appointment online at www.assessmentbooking.ca prior to arriving at the assessment centre.

Testing criteria now includes symptomatic testing and asymptomatic risk-based testing.

Symptomatic testing: All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, including those with mild symptoms.

Asymptomatic, risk-based testing: People who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 and people who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment. The former includes people who are contacts of or may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case, while the latter includes essential workers such as health-care workers, grocery store employees, food processing plant staff).

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at 47 Emma St. in Chatham

Officials urge people to go to the assessment centre if you have at least one of the following symptoms.

Common symptoms include fever (temperature of 37.8 C or greater), a new or worsening cough, and shortness of breath (dyspnea).

Other symptoms of COVID-19 can include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new olfactory or tastes disorder(s), nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, runny nose or nasal congestion (in absence of underlying reason for these symptoms such as seasonal allergies, post nasal drip, etc.).

Other signs of COVID-19 can include clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia.

Officials said atypical symptoms of COVID-19 should be considered, particularly in children, older persons, and people living with a developmental disability.

Atypical symptoms can include:

  • Unexplained fatigue/malaise/myalgias (muscle aches);
  • Delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention);
  • Unexplained or increased number of falls;
  • Acute functional decline;
  • Exacerbation of chronic conditions;
  • Chills;
  • Headaches;
  • Croup;
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye); and
  • Multisystem inflammatory vasculitis in children.

Atypical signs can include:

  • Unexplained tachycardia, including age specific tachycardia for children;
  • Decrease in blood pressure;
  • Unexplained hypoxia (inclusive of mild hypoxia);
  • Lethargy, difficulty feeding in infants (if no other diagnosis);

Individuals who are unsure if they have symptoms related to COVID-19 are advised to call their primary care provider, CK Public Health or Telehealth Ontario. They will discuss your symptoms and travel history and can advise if you should attend the assessment centre.

A self-assessment for COVID-19 provided by the Ministry of Health can also be completed online at: www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus.

Before booking an appointment, please make sure you have a valid “green” Ontario health card. Provide an e-mail address while filling out the online form to confirm your appointment date and time.

Patients who have a “red and white” Ontario health card, or those who do not have access to technology, can book an appointment by calling CKHA’s Registration at 519-352-6400 ext. 6548 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. After hours and on weekends, patients can call CKHA’s switchboard at 519-352-6400 ext. 6584.

Patients are advised to book an appointment rather than walk in to the assessment centre. Patients who arrive as a walk in will be seen at the earliest convenience by the health-care team and may be asked to return the next day or book an appointment if all time slots are filled.

When attending the assessment centre, please bring your health card with you. This helps the health care team properly identify you.

Please bring a list of medications and any other information regarding allergies and past medical issues.

Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the last patient will be seen at 4:20 p.m.

If you arrive after 4:20 p.m., do not go to the Emergency Department. Return home to self-isolate and come back to the assessment centre in the morning.

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