Dr. Dec’s COVID-19 UPDATE Information and Direction

Last updated: June 21, 2020

It has been over 3 months now that we have been tackling the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have moved on from self-isolating and staying at home, to stage 2 where we can socially distance with 10 people and “bubble” with another family, as per orders from the Provincial Government. The local, provincial, federal and global situation still continues to change, especially for our neighbours in the United States. Fortunately, the Niagara Region has had a relatively sparse number of cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 have been steadily decreasing over the past 2 months. Our office has been trying its best to maintain services for you, and have started increasing in-person appointments as per the Ministry of Health and College of Physicians and Surgeons guidelines. We have spoken to many of you over the phone or by video link and have still seen some of you in person, now that we are adapting to the new normal environment. COVID-19 has changed the way we see patients with more telephone and virtual encounters, but despite this change, your first point of contact should still be our office. We have been maintaining basic regular office hours from 9-5 with Wednesdays 9-12 and Fridays 9-4. We have been handling questions, medical complaints, prescription renewals & other medical needs. We will be seeing a higher volume of in office appointments, as we continue to monitor pregnant patients and update infant/child immunizations. We are starting to bring in more regular visits for things such as diabetes, high blood pressure, vitamin B12 injections and other acute complaints.

When you come for an appointment, we ask that you bring and wear a mask.

Once again, please follow these instructions:

Please DO NOT show up at the office without calling first. The accepted approach in the middle of the pandemic at this point in time, is to ensure safe, direct patient contact. We are accepting calls, triaging complaints and then deciding on who can be managed over the phone, as that is still the recommended approach, if it is appropriate. When you call, you will be asked screening questions. Then, if you have an in-person appointment, you will also be screened on-site by our nurses before entering the office.
If you are unable to get through at (905) 356-2228 because call volumes are high, then feel free to communicate with us by either FAX (905) 356-8161 or by e-mail at reception@docdecfamilymd.ca and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Please follow the public health recommendations:

1. If you have any symptoms of upper respiratory illness, please quarantine yourself, away from others to avoid spreading what you have, which is likely another virus. We will likely advise you to get tested for COVID-19, even if you have minor symptoms.

2. If you have any classic symptoms of COVID-19, specifically new or worsening cough, fever of > 38.0°C or shortness of breath, please call in to speak to us. Or if you have other unusual symptoms (for example: loss of smell/taste or diarrhea) you can take any of the self-assessment surveys listed in the links below. If your condition is serious, please proceed to the Emergency Department.

3. There are 3 COVID-19 Testing Centres in Niagara, one at the Allied Health Building behind GNGH, one in Welland & one in St. Catharines, & you now do NOT need a doctor’s referral to get tested but there are no walk-in appointments & you have to call to arrange an appointment. The number is (905) 378-4647 ext. 42819 .The recommendations for testing are if you are symptomatic as above, or have been in contact with a + COVID-19 case or have been in contact with a person suspected of being positive. Random testing of asymptomatic patients “just so you know” is not recommended.

4. If you have specific questions regarding COVID-19, you may call the Public Health Hotline directly @ (905) 688-8248 ext. 7019.
Other good resources are:

[a] Ontario Medical Association – www.virusfacts.ca

[b] www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

[c] www.niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/default.aspx

[d] www.niagarahealth.on.ca/site/covid-19

I know everyone continues to be concerned about the future and how long COVID-19 will last, how it will impact all of us from a health and economic standpoint, and how quickly we can start to get back to somewhat of a normal life, or at least whatever the “new” normal will be. The provincial government is guiding everyone in this regard. I think the best advice is to still take things a few weeks at a time and see how things develop. Please follow instructions, use common sense and stay safe. stay well.

Dr. David Dec & Staff

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