COVID-19 info for Albertans & Health Professionals and about Visiting Patients.

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Information for Community Physicians

novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last Reviewed: May 23, 2020

On this page:

What's New|Information for Your Zone|Changes in Health Services|Guidance for Physicians & Teams|Clinic Staff|Information to Give Patients

Information on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) specific to community specialist physicians and community primary care physicians, and their teams. Providers should also review Information for AHS Staff & Health Professionals for a comprehensive list of resources for all health professionals in Alberta.

Provincewide Advice

ConnectMD, Specialist LINK, eReferral & RAAPID

These numbers are for healthcare providers only, not the general public.

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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQs for Community Physicians
Updated: May 14, 2020

PPE Request Process for Community Physicians

Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Government of Alberta are coordinating allocation of carefully planned amounts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across the province during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review the following documents which include key contacts and distribution processes:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Information - Information and supports to help care providers use PPE appropriately and confidently

Questions

Community physicians can email: phc@ahs.ca. This email is only for providers who have general questions about the COVID-19 response. This email is not for questions from members of the general public.

AHS Staff & Health Professionals

Healthcare Worker Self-Assessment

Daily Fit for Work Screening

What’s New

  • Updates on Cases in Alberta
  • May 22 - AHS COVID-19 Daily Update for Medical Staff: The update outlines key information and developments on the response. Note: Some resources in the update are specific to AHS.
  • May 22 - Resumption of Some Overnight and Short-stay Surgeries and Procedures: AHS is expanding surgical capacity by resuming some overnight and short-stay surgeries. Please see the Changes in Health Services section below for more information.
  • May 22 - Maternity Services Restored in Calgary Zone: AHS announced the restoration of all inpatient labour and delivery, NICU, postpartum and newborn care at South Health Campus effective June 3, 2020. All inpatient maternal and newborn services at High River Hospital will also be reinstated that day with maternity staff at both sites returning in a phased approached starting June 1. This planned service return is contingent upon the Calgary Zone maintaining a manageable caseload of COVID-19 cases over the coming weeks.

Information for Your Zone

Central Zone

Presumed/Confirmed COVID-19 Primary Care Management Pathway

Calgary Zone

COVID tele-advice, pathways, webinars and other resources for Calgary-area physicians at specialistlink.ca.

Other zonal information will be added as available.

Changes in Health Services

Staged Resumption of Diagnostic Imaging and Some Ambulatory Care

  • AHS and Covenant Health are resuming some ambulatory care and diagnostic imaging (DI) services beginning the week of May 11, 2020.
  • Decisions on which exams, procedures and appointments will proceed are being made at the zone level. Patients will be either contacted by a clinic or instructed to use online assessment tools.
  • To ensure community primary care and specialty physicians are informed, plans to reopen services including surgical and diagnostic imaging will be shared as they evolve.

Resuming Ambulatory Care

  • Since the decision to pause ambulatory care, overall activity was reduced by 60 per cent. Relaunch is expected to increase activity by approximately 20 to 40 per cent.
  • The activity will vary by area and type of service. The scope of services includes some adult and pediatric AHS and Covenant Health hospital and community-based ambulatory care services (visits, procedures and tests).
  • We have continued to do urgent ambulatory care during the pandemic, and have shifted to virtual care when available. In most cases, virtual care will continue as appropriate.
  • Group visits and classes will be done virtually, but clinics may book one-on-one visits to deliver essential teaching and instructions.
  • Out-of-province patients may be seen virtually across all urgency categories, but face-to-face visits will be restricted to emergencies only.

Resuming Diagnostic Imaging

  • We will be resuming some scheduled DI examinations later this month. DI Services will resume in a staged approach.
  • Prioritization will be given to patients requiring DI exams for scheduled surgeries or urgent ambulatory care, as well as rescheduling urgent DI exams that were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • DI will coordinate exam booking in each zone, contacting Albertans currently on wait-lists in the coming days to reschedule their exams.

Resumption of Some Scheduled, Elective, Overnight and Short-stay Surgeries

  • AHS resumed some scheduled, day surgeries in all five zones beginning in May. This relaunch has been successful, with approximately 3,000 day surgeries completed between May 4 and May 22, 2020.
  • AHS is now expanding surgical capacity by resuming some overnight and short-stay surgeries. We are following a cautious and phased approach to resuming services.
  • Decisions on which surgeries proceed are based on clinical need, with those most in need and waiting longest being booked first. These decisions are being made at the zone level, and are also informed by the pandemic response in different parts of the province.
  • We are addressing the backlog as quickly as we can, and also maintaining our ability to respond to the healthcare needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Patients will be contacted directly when it is time to receive their surgery.
  • All urgent and emergent surgeries have continued throughout the pandemic response.

Non-Essential Lab Testing

  • Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) strongly recommends the cessation of non-essential and routine laboratory testing.
  • Patients who require bloodwork that is critical to their immediate care will continue to receive testing.
  • More information in this laboratory bulletin.

Rural Outpatient Laboratories in Acute/Urgent Care Facilities

  • Effective May 4, all rural hospital/urgent care outpatient labs will temporarily move to appointment-only service for outpatient lab work.
  • Please review the Alberta Precision Laboratories news release to learn more.

Allied Health Services

  • The Government of Alberta has announced a plan to lift some restrictions on some allied health services.
  • Dental and other regulated healthcare workers such as physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, social workers, occupational therapists, dietitians and more can resume services as long as they follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.

Autopsies

  • Will only be conducted if they are COVID-19 pandemic-related, and/or the medical reason for autopsy has significant clinical impact.
  • Perinatal autopsies are not affected by this and will continue as per standard of care.
  • If a case is an essential adult/pediatric autopsy, the breadth and scope of the autopsy is left to the pathologist’s discretion to address the most relevant clinical question.
  • Please review the lab bulletin for additional details.

Information to Give Patients