COVID-19 referral only screening clinics opened in Port Alberni, Cowichan Valley

COVID-19 referral only screening clinics opened in Port Alberni, Cowichan Valley
The drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic in Victoria, BC.

Island Health said Thursday two more COVID-19 screening clinics have opened on Vancouver Island: one in Port Alberni and one in the Cowichan Valley.

Earlier this week, screening clinics were opened in Victoria and Nanaimo. 

In order to get an appointment at a screening clinic, a referral is needed.

“It is important that people do not call or attend a screening clinic. Access is by referral and appointment only. It is also important to understand that the majority of people will not meet the requirement for testing at a screening clinic,” Island Health said in a statement.

Island Health said according to the latest guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control, people with respiratory symptoms who should be tested are people who are:

  •           Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized
  •           Health Care Workers
  •           Residents of long-term care facilities
  •           Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak

Island Health said who do not need to be tested include:

  •  People without symptoms (The exception is health care workers with COVID-19 infection who require a negative test after symptom resolution to return to work)
  • People with mild respiratory symptoms who can be managed at home. This includes returning travellers with an onset of illness within 14 days of return to Canada

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (such as a new fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing) or are concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19 is asked to use the online self-assessment tool:

People can also contact their primary care provider or call HealthLink BC at 811 to be assessed. However, only those deemed as meeting the requirement for testing will be referred to a screening clinic.

The Ministry of Health and Island Health is urging anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing – to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The rest of the public is asked to protect themselves by washing hands frequently and maintain a distance of about 2 metres from others.

“Health authorities across B.C. are being asked to set up referral-only screening clinics in a way that makes sense for the unique communities they serve and Island Health will continue to actively assess the need in communities across our region,” Island Health said.

As of March 19, there are 22 cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island. 


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