COVID-19 testing at a drive-through facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital is underway.
Medical staff wearing heavy gear could be seen conducting tests Thursday morning in the parking lot of the Peninsula Health Unit. Crews began setting up the facility earlier in the week.
Cheryl Bloxham, a spokesperson for the Island Health, confirmed Thursday that testing at the drive-through facility is underway.
Island Health said in a statement to the Peninsula News Review that crews were setting up a drive-through testing clinic and a referral-only assessment clinic at the hospital, with the drive-through testing clinic within the unit’s parking lot. The referral-only assessment clinic is a specially built, safe indoor space for face-to-face assessment within the health unit.
According to the statement, the mobile testing clinic will serve people who are symptomatic and fall into one of four categories as per testing guidelines as issued by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC): people who are hospitalized or likely to be hospitalized; health care workers; residents in long term care; and part of an investigation for a cluster outbreak.
As for the referral-only assessment clinic, it serves people, who require a face-to-face assessment, after having completed a virtual assessment by a family doctor or nurse practitioner.
“These assessment clinics will be used for people who have more than mild COVID symptoms, but are not sick enough to attend the emergency department,” it read.
These clinics will be safe places to perform what the statement calls “in-person assessments, when determined necessary.” Island Health said it is also working with the provincial nurses hotline at 811 to ensure people who do not have a doctor or nurse practitioner can access the service, if required.
“It’s important for people to understand, that these are referral-only clinics,” it read. “The referral-only assessment clinics are different in that they are for symptomatic patients, who have been referred by a physician or nurse practitioner for further assessment to guide their care.”
Island Health said in a follow up that it hopes to have the referral clinic ready in the coming days.
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