Local clinics restrict public access in response to COVID-19

MOUNT FOREST – The Mount Forest Family Health Team (MFFHT) locked the doors of the Claire Stewart Medical Clinic on Dublin Street on March 23 and anyone wanting to enter has to call in advance to be screened.

The MFFHT announced the move on March 22, less than four hours after Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) confirmed a local COVID-19 case not related to travel.

A 66-year-old man tested positive for the coronavirus and is recovering at adjacent Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest.

Officials say the restriction, part of the team’s evolving pandemic plan, also applies to those needing to access services provided by LifeLabs.

“By locking the doors and asking everyone to call before coming, we are protecting the staff working at the clinic and the public in general. It also allows us to redeploy staff to other activities across the system as we get ready to manage more cases in the community,” stated Suzanne Trivers, MFFHT executive director.

“We will continue to see patients whose needs cannot be met through telephone or secure video-conference. The decision about whether the visit must be face to face is made by the doctor or nurse practitioner and is based on clinical need.”

Dr. Hugh Perrin, clinical operations director for physicians at the clinic, thanked patients in advance for their patience and understanding.

“During this public health crisis, it’s important that we all work together to ensure that we are able to provide the urgent and emergency care that people need,” stated Perrin.

“Most routine lab testing can safely be delayed at this time. Please keep a separation of six feet from others other than those who live with you. Stay home as much as possible. This is not a time to address long-standing, mild health concerns that can wait. The medical system will be busy and should not be using limited protective equipment to address such issues now.”

Anyone with questions can call the clinic at 519-323-0255 ext. 5000 and leave a message.

Drayton Health Centre

The Mapleton Health Centre in Drayton has been limiting traffic through the clinic to promote social distancing since March 16.

By March 18, a post on the health centre’s website stated, “We have been advised overnight by Public Health Authorities – due to a newly identified potential issue – that no patients are to enter our facility until further advised.” The posting indicated doctors and nurses would be available to consult on urgent matters via phone and virtual visits today from 8am to 4pm.

However a March 23 updates indicates that as of March 22, the clinic was cleared to allow patients to enter the facility.

The facility is now operating on revised hours: Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm and Friday from 9am to 3pm.

Patients are asked to call ahead before attending the clinic. All non-essential appointments are being cancelled or postponed.
“We are still seeing essential and urgent appointments. If you are unsure which category you fit into, please call the clinic for clarification. We continue to have physicians, nurses and staff available to help work through things on the phone,” clinic officials state.

The clinic is currently screening patients over the phone and again when they  arrive at the clinic.

The clinic dispensary is requiring every prescription to be phoned in ahead of time.

Those picking up prescriptions will be met by a staff member at the door who will bring prescriptions to them. Patients will be asked to pay for their prescription over the phone by credit card.

“Please be advised that we are only able to give ALL patients a 30 day supply of medications at this time,” the notice states.

For the latest health information regarding COVID-19, visit the public health website.

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