covid-19 update

December 2020

BCHS COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Brantford Civic Centre

The Brant Community Healthcare System’s COVID-19 testing operations are located at the Brantford Civic Centre Auditorium, 79 Market Street South.

Click here to access our new online self-booking tool, available 24/7.

UPDATE: To address the increasing demand for COVID-19 testing, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre does not accept walk-ins. All COVID-19 testing is done by scheduled appointments only

Who is Eligible for Testing?

The assessment center will address the necessary steps if testing for COVID-19 is required based on symptoms, travel history and/or exposure to confirmed COVID-19 cases. The current criteria for COVID-19 testing include patients who:

  • are showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 informed by the Brant County Health Unit or an exposure notice received on the COVID Alert app
  • are a resident or someone who works in a place that has a COVID-19 outbreak
  • are eligible for testing as part of targeted testing by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care

If you meet any one of the above circumstances, please contact the Brant Community Healthcare System to arrange for testing. You can also take the Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to help you decide if you need a test.

How to Book an Appointment:

New: Book your COVID-19 test online. To book a test at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre, click here to access our new online self-booking tool, available 24/7.

You can also book an appointment in advance by emailing Covid.assessment@bchsys.org with your name and telephone number, or by calling the hotline at 519-751-5818, available Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm.

If your symptoms get worse and you need urgent care, please visit the local emergency department or call 911 immediately.

 


Our family practice is open and continues to operate every day. However, in an effort to further protect our patients and staff, we are still limiting some non-essential appointments (such as routine physicals) and encouraging Virtual Visits (phone or video) when possible. We’re also experiencing a higher demand with reduced staff due to COVID-19.

To protect other patients and our staff we ask that you please CALL before coming in and we will provide direction from there. We also encourage you: 1) to come in wearing a mask, 2) to wait for your appointment time outside or in the car, and 3) not to bring additional family members unless their presence is required.

If you have new concerning symptoms such as sudden chest pain, weakness in one side of the face or body, sudden overwhelming headache, serious difficulty breathing, severe/prolonged abdominal pain, mental health emergencies or sudden-onset confusion – these conditions need urgent attention, regardless of the pandemic, so we strongly encourage you to go to the Brantford General Hospital or Willet Urgent Care (see page below for more information) to be assessed.


Return to School During COVID-19

The Ontario government has recommendations in place for a return to school. Please be advised that schools are not able to request a note or proof of a negative COVID test. These kinds of requests are not consistent with the Ministry of Health guidance, which notes: “Medical notes or proof of negative tests should not be required for staff or students to return to school.”

Face coverings & masks

It is required that you wear a face mask indoors or outside in enclosed common areas when you are not able to social distance.  The mask must cover your nose, mouth, and chin without gaps.

Mask exemptions

Please read below before calling to request a mask exemption note. There are very few conditions that justify an exemption from wearing a face mask for reasons of prevention. In Ontario, these are:

  • Children under the age of 2;
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing; and
  • Anyone who is unconscious incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

At this time “...there is no evidence that wearing a face mask will cause a ‘flare up’ of an underlying lung condition”, according to  Canadian Thoracic Society recommendations.Patients with asthma and COPD or other conditions requesting a mask exemption should strongly be encouraged to avoid public settings if they cannot wear a mask. Some patients may feel anxious about wearing masks or may have PTSD about a mask due to personal experiences. Please consider the reason for mask anxiousness. For some, this video on overcoming mask anxiety might be helpful.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON COVID‑19

Please check out this new resource on COVID-19 written by Canadian physicians – covidquestions.ca

I have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever & new/worsening cough), what should I do? 

1. Complete a self-assessment at https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus to determine if a clinical assessment is necessary

2. If the tool results indicate clinical assessment is necessary please call our reception, who will connect you with your MD or NP or determine the next steps. Please call first, do not visit in person.

3. If you are unable or unsure if you need to see a family physician, call the BCHS COVID-19 hotline at 519-751-5818 to determine if you need an assessment. You can also call Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000

If you require urgent care and are in distress, call 911 or visit the Emergency Department immediately.


Doctors and Nurse Practitioners available via Virtual Care (Telephone & Video Appointments)

Our health care providers are now available to care for you via our virtual care service which offers telephone and video appointments from the comfort of your home or office. Virtual Care services are covered by OHIP for patients with a valid card. To learn more visit OTN Ontario here.

Some of the conditions that can be assessed via phone or video are acid reflux, allergy symptoms or asthma, birth control, diabetes, skin issues, gout, review of recent lab results or tests, prescription renewal, or referrals.

To schedule your telephone or video appointment please call our front staff 519-304-8550


How to protect yourself

To help prevent the spread of all types of respiratory illnesses, including influenza:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
  • avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth to prevent illness;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and,
  • get the flu shot, if you haven’t already done so
  • You may need to increase interpersonal distancing (e.g. not shaking hands)
  • Avoid eating from self-serve buffet-style eating at gatherings and do not share food or drinks
  • Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 if first symptoms of respiratory infection to discuss next steps on management.
  • For more information on COVID-19 visit Ontario Ministry of Health website 

Learn more about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)