Saugeen Shores physicians refrain from in-person appointments and non-essential health issues

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a global pandemic. We have been reviewing our daily operations as we transition our resources to pandemic response. Our goal is to minimize potential exposure to as many people as possible, while freeing up resources to attend to those who require urgent care.

On March 15, 2020, the first two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Grey Bruce. Later that day, doctors were advised by the Ontario Medical Association to refrain from in-person appointments for non-essential health issues.

So starting immediately, we will no longer be booking routine or non-urgent clinic appointments. Visits of an urgent nature that require an in-person assessment will still be offered. For prescription medication refills, please ask your pharmacy to fax us your request. If you currently have an upcoming appointment scheduled, you will be contacted to cancel or amend this appointment. We are hoping to transition most appointments to phone appointments, to minimize possible exposure and spread of COVID-19. Please call the clinic if you feel you need an appointment. Do not show up at the clinic without calling first.

In a pandemic, we need to work together to reduce the spread of this virus in the community. We are urging everyone to exercise social distancing and avoid all gatherings to limit potential exposure. Please wash your hands with soap and water often, and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing. Public Health has also advised avoidance of all non-essential travel outside of Canada, and is now requiring all travellers arriving in Canada from any international point (including the USA) to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

If you have travelled outside of Canada, or have been in close contact with someone who has been outside the country, AND you start having symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), please isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible and contact one of the following by phone to report your symptoms and receive triage advice: Grey Bruce Public Health Unit at 519-376-9420, extension 3000 or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. There will also be a dedicated GBHS COVID-19 phone line activated soon. If you think you have COVID-19, please do not enter your family doctorโ€™s office.

Please note that most people who have become infected with COVID-19 will not require hospitalization, and will be able to recover at home without any treatment. Also, with the current shortage of test kits, most people with the infection will not qualify to receive the viral swab for COVID-19 diagnostic confirmation.

In general, if your symptoms are mild, stay home and self isolate for 14 days. If your symptoms become serious, or you feel ill enough that you need a physician, you should seek emergency medical assessment at your nearest hospital emergency department, but please call ahead so that staff can be prepared for your arrival in advance. Southampton Hospital can be reached at 519-797-3230, or call 911 if you are unable to get there safely. Please do not attend the emergency department unless you feel you are experiencing a true emergency. This will help to ensure care remains available to those who truly need it. To stay informed, please visit www.publichealthontario.ca, www.virusfacts.ca, and www.gbhs.on.ca.

We appreciate your cooperation as we work through this pandemic together to ensure our community remains as healthy as possible.

-Drs. Cipolletti, Dyke, Gibb, Gleba, Gowan, Gusberti, Higgins, Marriott, Somerville, and NP Colleen Fowler, Dr. David Billings and Dr. Chad Burkhart