A referral-only COVID-19 screening clinic is now open in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin photo)

COVID-19 screening clinic opens in Nanaimo

Island Health opens referral-only clinic

Island Health has opened its promised COVID-19 screening clinic in Nanaimo.

The health authority advised Wednesday morning that the clinic will begin taking appointments as of today. People may only attend if they have been referred by a primary care provider or an 811 nurse.

Island Health says testing will be prioritized for patients with respiratory symptoms who have been hospitalized or are likely to be hospitalized, health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and people connected to a cluster or outbreak of cases.

People who do not show symptoms or whose symptoms are mild and can be managed at home do not need to be tested, Island Health says.

READ MORE: COVID-19 updates: Latest news from Parksville, Qualicum Beach, RDN

READ MORE: Comprehensive coronvirus coverage here

Those experiencing symptoms such as new fever, dry cough, or breathing difficulties, or those concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19, Island Health recommends accessing the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s online self-assessment tool at https://covid19.thrive.health/. People can also contact their primary care provider or call HealthLink B.C. at 811 to be assessed.

Those who meet criteria to be tested at the screening clinic will be provided with contact information. A triage nurse at the clinic will then manage appointments.

Island Health said in the release that it is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the BCCDC to respond to COVID-19.

“The situation is evolving quickly and our strategies are evolving to keep people in the communities we serve safe,” Island Health noted. “To increase our ability to test those whom health officials deem a high priority, Island Health is actively working to open more COVID-19 referral-only screening clinics across Vancouver Island in the coming days.”

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