Dr. Gareth Mannheimer, Chief of Staff for the Invermere & District Hospital and a family physician, provides an update on how community medical services are responding to the rapidly changing environment for COVID19 and how the community can help.
There are active cases of COVID19 in our community. Fortunately, to date all patients are doing well. The only way we will be able to contain this infection locally is for everybody to be responsible and follow the guidelines. You all have the ability to determine what our community will be experiencing over the upcoming weeks.
- Stay calm and play it safe. Please practice social distancing and, if you can, stay at home. If you must go out, stay at least two meters (6.5 feet) from other people. If you are symptomatic please isolate at home and utilize the provincial self-assessment tool.
- To understand more on how you can stop the spread, please go to the BC Centre for Disease control at www.bccdc.ca to read these guidelines. This website also provides the latest on COVID19, how to protect yourself, your family, your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.
- If you think you have COVID19, use the provincial self-assessment tool https://bc.thrive.health/covid19 to check your symptoms and to determine if you need further assessment. You can also download the Province of British Columbia “COVID19-BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool” to stay on top of all new developments related to the virus.
- We have listened to you. We know the wait times for 8-1-1- support are long. We know your relationships with your local doctors and medical health care providers are important to you during this uncertain time. We have worked hard with the community clinics to offer telephonic and video-conferencing visits to respond to questions about your general health and COVID19. We have re-deployed trained hospital staff to support the phone lines to answer your questions. The hospital and the clinics can be reached at the following phone numbers listed here:
- Invermere & District Hospital 250-342-9201
- Invermere Medical Clinic (250) 342-9206
- Chisel Peak Clinic (250) 341-6900
- Call us first! Do not go to the clinics and do not go to the hospital unless it is an emergency. We ask you to be patient as you wait your turn to get your questions answered the best way we can.
- The 8-1-1 line for COVID19 remains an excellent resource. It is an additional layer of support available to you. We ask you to be patient as you seek answers to your questions 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Demand is very high.
- Healthcare teams from the Columbia Valley are meeting daily. We are also in contact with other local resource groups including local government to facilitate two-way communication about the health and medical needs of our community. We are using this information to determine how we offer, improve and respond to community concerns.
- You can help! Currently, we are able to manage community needs. We are building a registry of potential volunteers. These include, retired or otherwise available health care providers including but not limited to physicians, nurses, counsellors, therapists and health care aides. If you have credentials and relevant health care experience, please register through Volunteer Columbia Valley website https://volunteercv.ca/organizations/columbia-valley-covid-19-community-response
- We may need more medical supplies to be proactive. We are looking for any individuals or businesses who can free up gloves, masks, scrubs, scrub-caps, smocks, face shields and safety googles. Please contact Ryan Watmough at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know what is available and to arrange for safe pick up. I thank you in advance for your generosity on behalf of all medical professionals on the front line.
- We are also asking anyone who may have fabric that could be used to make scrubs, personal protective gowns for medical professionals and patient gowns to contact Ryan Watmough at email@example.com. If you can sew, please register through Volunteer Columbia Valley website https://volunteercv.ca/organizations/columbia-valley-covid-19-community-response
I genuinely value the time, commitment and support from all of you. I am confident that if we can function together, we will have the best chance of minimizing the impact that this disease might have.