COVID-19 info for Albertans & Health Professionals and about Family Support & Visitation.

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Information for Community Physicians

novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last Reviewed: July 27, 2020

On this page:

What's New| Guidance for Physicians & Teams| Resumption of Health Services| Information for Your Zone| Information to Give Patients| Hospital Transitions to Community for COVID-19 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.

More

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQs for Community Physicians
Updated: July 13, 2020

PPE Request Process for Community Physicians

Alberta Health Services will continue to supply physician offices with personal protective equipment (PPE) should you require this equipment. Please see this memo to learn more.

The following documents outline ordering processes and PPE prices:

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

Health Worker Self-Assessment

What’s New

  • Updates on Cases in Alberta
  • July 24 - AHS COVID-19 Weekly Update for Medical Staff: The update outlines key information and developments on the response. Note: Some resources in the update are specific to AHS.
  • July 24 - Misericordia Hospital Outbreak Update: All services at the Misericordia are temporarily closed to incoming patients. Under these full facility outbreak restrictions, no patients are being admitted to the hospital and day surgeries, procedures and visits will be postponed or rescheduled at another Edmonton hospital. The full facility outbreak extends to all adult and child services including the Emergency Department. Patients should not visit the Misericordia, and should instead visit one of the other hospitals within the Edmonton Zone or call 911 if needed. Arrangements have been made for labouring mothers to deliver at Grey Nuns Community Hospital or, if they prefer, at other hospitals. Patients within the hospital are continuing to receive the treatment, care and support they need. In order to keep everyone safe, visitors are being restricted to end-of-life situations only.
  • July 17 - Change to Visitation Restrictions: Beginning July 23, Alberta Health and AHS will be shifting from restricted access to a safe access approach to family support and visitation in continuing care facilities. Under the revised guidelines, each resident can have two designate family/support persons who will be able to visit indoors for as long and as often as they wish, as long as they coordinate with the facility. The two designated family/support persons will need an appointment only to use shared indoor spaces. There will be updates to end-of-life, the appeals process, and more. More details  on ahs.ca/visitation.

Guidance for Physicians & Teams

Infection, Prevention & Control

Patient Care

Testing Information

Resources for Your Practice

Emerging Evidence

 

Resumption of Health Services

Staged Resumption of Diagnostic Imaging and Some Ambulatory Care

  • AHS and Covenant Health have resumed some ambulatory care and diagnostic imaging (DI) services. 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.

Resuming Ambulatory Care

  • Ambulatory care activity will vary by area and type of service. The scope of services includes some adult and pediatric hospital and community-based ambulatory care services, including:
    • Visits: Specialty and sub-specialty medical, surgical, women’s health, public health, addiction and mental health, and allied health services (dental, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, social workers, occupational therapists, dietitians, and pharmacists)
    • Ambulatory procedures: Advanced venous access, bronchoscopy, cystoscopy, endoscopy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, women’s health (colposcopy, loop electrosurgical excision procedure, laser therapy), cardiac interventional services (catheterization lab and electrophysiology), allied health and rehabilitation services (diagnostic swallowing assessments, physiotherapy, etc.), electroconvulsive therapy
    • Tests: Electrocardiogram, echocardiography, interventional radiology, cardiac testing, sleep testing, electromyography, electroencephalogram, urodynamics
  • In most cases, virtual care will continue as appopriate.

Resuming Diagnostic Imaging

  • We will be resuming some scheduled DI examinations. DI Services will resume in a staged approach:
    • Stage 2 – June
      • Deferred routine (P3) requests using the original appointment date to reschedule
      • Book new referrals for routine exams based on capacity
      • Use of the mobile MR will restart operations
    • Stage 3 – TBD
      • Ongoing efforts to revert back to pre-pandemic activity level
      • Begin implementation of a plan for CT and MRI
  • Prioritization will be given to patients requiring DI exams for scheduled surgeries or urgent ambulatory care.

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

  • AHS resumed some scheduled day surgeries and expanded surgical capacity by resuming some overnight and short-stay surgeries in all five zones.
  • 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.
  • Patients will be contacted directly when it is time to receive their surgery.
  • We will continue to ensure emergent and urgent surgeries are maintained, while steadily increasing the number of surgeries.

Staged Resumption of Lab Services

  • Alberta Precision Laboratories’ Patient Service Centres and collection locations are currently able to operate at approximately 70 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity.
  • Local community and site memos outline hours of operation, details on appointment bookings and availability of any special collection options available. Patient Instruction Sheets will accompany local memos.
  • More information in this laboratory bulletin.
  • Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) has resumed. It is recommended for patients aged 50-74. Patients should be advised to bring their requisition and pick up their FIT kits at their nearest PSC/PCC or in rural areas, patients can obtain the FIT kit at their local lab facility.

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.

Information for Your Zone

North Zone

Ambulatory Care Resumption

  • In addition to services already resumed (Endoscopy; IV therapy; Wound/foot care; OT/PT), services resumed as of June 15th include:
    • Audiology; Newborn hearing screening; All medical and surgical consultation clinics; Lower leg/foot clinics; Minor procedures; Cast/ortho clinics; Stress testing clinics; Cardiac rehab; Ophthalmology; Dietician consults (virtual)

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.

Information to Give Patients

Hospital Transitions to Community for COVID-19 Patients

The following resources outline how acute and primary care can work together to safely transition COVID-19 patients from home into hospital and back home. Resources were developed based on Alberta’s new Home to Hospital to Home Transitions Guideline and help ensure continuity of care.

Some processes may require customization and will vary by zone. Check with your local ZEOC or PCN for clarification on what may be happening in your zone.

Follow-up to community physicians at discharge:

Other resources for safe transitions: