Last Reviewed: October 20, 2020
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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.
ConnectMD, Specialist LINK, eReferral & RAAPID
These numbers are for healthcare providers only, not the general public.
Community physicians can email: email@example.com. 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
- Updates on Cases in Alberta
- October 20 - Revised COVID-19 Testing Criteria: Effective Oct. 20, testing in Alberta is for:
- Albertans with symptoms of COVID-19
- Albertans who are close contacts of a confirmed case, whether symptomatic or not
- Albertans who are linked to a known outbreak, whether symptomatic or not
- October 19 - Fight the Flu: Influenza vaccinations are now available. For more information, please visit AHS.ca/influenza
- October 16 - 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.
- October 16 - Rapid Testing: Rapid tests have been approved in Ottawa, and AHS is exploring the use of Abbott IDNow tests with Health Canada. We are working with our federal and provincial partners to evaluate the performance characteristics of the Abbott IDNow test. This is critical work for understanding the most appropriate scenarios in which these tests should be used in Alberta. More information on this will be shared as it is available.
- October 13 - AHS Assessment Centres: Effective Oct. 14, AHS assessment centres will move to an appointment-only approach. Drop-in options in Calgary and Edmonton will no longer be available to those patients who arrive without a prearranged appointment.
Guidance for Physicians & Teams
Infection, Prevention & Control
Resources for Your Practice
Resumption of Health Services
Diagnostic Imaging and Ambulatory Clinic Services
- Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Covenant Health have resumed Diagnostic Imaging (DI) and Ambulatory Clinic services.
- During the early part of the pandemic, we saw a planned reduction in “in person” patients seen in DI services across the zones by up to approximately 60 per cent with a commensurate increase in virtual visits.
- Patients attending a scheduled appointment will receive a pre-screening phone call to assess fitness to attend appointments and will be given instruction for attendance based on provincial public health guidelines. In cases where patients cannot be reached, they will be screened upon arrival for their appointments. Patients attending appointments for Ambulatory Care or DI will also need to follow the AHS visitor guidelines.
- We are making every effort to contact Albertans who had their in person visits and procedures delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic to discuss re-scheduling options.
Surgical Recovery Plan
AHS is currently operating at 88 per cent of pre-COVID-19 surgical activity and will increase this activity as part of a Surgical Recovery Plan developed and aligned with the Alberta Surgical Initiative (ASI).
- AHS postponed all non-urgent, scheduled surgeries in March to free up hospital beds in advance of an expected surge in patients with COVID-19. Some of these postponed activities resumed in May.
- Working in partnership with Alberta Health with this Surgical Recovery Plan, we are ensuring patients and families receive the surgery they need, when they need it, according to best practices and target benchmarks.
- The plan can be adjusted, as necessary, to help the health system respond to potential increased health system demand caused by COVID-19.
- Safety is the utmost priority and increases in surgery activity will happen providing it is safe and appropriate to do so.
- We will continue to ensure emergent and urgent surgeries are maintained while steadily increasing the number of surgeries, balancing the safety of patients and staff with the need to resume surgeries for Albertans waiting for care.
- Decisions on which surgeries proceed are based on clinical need and those being 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.
- Patients will be contacted directly when it is time to receive their surgery.
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.
- Due to current demands on the province’s laboratories, please encourage patients to book routine lab work as early as possible.
- 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
Presumed/Confirmed COVID-19 Primary Care Management Pathway
COVID-19 tele-advice, pathways, webinars and other resources for Calgary-area physicians at specialistlink.ca.
COVID-19 tele-advice and pathways for Edmonton-area physicians at pcnconnectmd.com
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: