ALERT: Important Information Regarding COVID-19 - UPDATE

UPDATE - March 16, 2020

Group Health Centre is limiting non-urgent appointments in an effort to reduce avoidable patient visits to its facilities. If you have an upcoming appointment, please be aware it may be cancelled or deferred. Patients may also choose to cancel their own appointments if they deem them to be non-urgent. You may also be given the option to have your appointment by telephone.
 
COVID-19 Screening
Point-of-entry screening is live at all Group Health Centre buildings. Your patience is appreciated. Please be aware that most patients who screen positive (respiratory symptoms, fever, or recent international travel) will be asked to go home and self-isolate. Patients with confirmed appointments that screen positive will be asked to don a mask and maintain spatial separation wherever possible.
 
As a reminder, there is no recommendation to test patients without symptoms at this time, and patients that have mild respiratory symptoms and/or fever should stay home from work or school.
 
Please self-isolate at home if:
 
  • you have a mild respiratory illness
  • you have recently travelled internationally, including by car; or
  • you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19; or
  • you have been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has travelled internationally
 
While updated guidelines indicate testing is NOT required in most situations, including where mild symptoms are present, you may contact APH at 705-759-5404 to see if testing is appropriate.
 
Any healthcare facility, given its concentration of sick patients, is an area of heightened risk, particularly at this time with the potential for rapid transmission of the COVID-19 virus. As such, to limit risk to yourself and your family members, please consider the necessity of your visit before coming, and consider postponing any non-essential visits. If you are unsure of your risk, please contact your provider’s office.
 
The GHC is working as a community partner in managing this outbreak, and as such operations may be impacted over time in certain areas. We appreciate your patience.
* * * *

Please be advised that as of Monday, March 16, Group Health Centre is limiting access points to its main building at 240 McNabb and implementing Point of Entry COVID-19 Assessment Screening for everyone entering its facilities at 240 McNabb, 170 East Street, 773 Great Northern Road, and 83 Willow.  If you have an appointment, please observe and follow the directions at your provider’s building regarding screening.
  
The GHC has only a limited capacity for COVID-19 screening, and Algoma Public Health (APH) has provided guidance that (a) there is no recommendation to test patients without symptoms at this time, and (b) patients that have mild respiratory symptoms and/or fever but without significant travel history (see below) should stay home from work / school and recover (no clinic or hospital ED visit required). 

You may benefit from testing if you are experiencing mild symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing, and/or fever, and within 14 days prior to the onset of illness:
  • you have recently travelled internationally*; or
  • you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19; or
  • you have been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has travelled internationally
If you meet the criteria above you should stay home (self-isolate) and contact APH at 705-759-5404 to see if testing is appropriate.
 
Any healthcare facility, given its concentration of sick patients, is an area of heightened risk, particularly at this time with the potential for rapid transmission of the COVID-19 virus.  As such, to limit risk to yourself and your family members, please consider the necessity of your visit before coming, and consider postponing any non-essential visits.  If you are unsure of your risk, please contact your provider’s office.  
 
The GHC is working as a community partner in managing this outbreak, and as such operations may be impacted over time in certain areas.  We appreciate your patience.

 From Algoma Public Health:

Travellers returning from impacted affected areas
 
Travellers who have returned from Hubei province, including Wuhan City, or Iran should:
  • Stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home, for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province or Iran.
  • Contact their local public health department within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.  For Algoma residents, this means contacting Algoma Public Health at 705-759-5404 or TF 1-866-892-0172, ext. 5404.
  • Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or their local public health unit or call their primary care provider’s office if they experience symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any health care provider and let them know about travel history and symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so that they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures
Travellers who have returned from areas under a travel health advisory  for COVID-19 (other than Hubei Province or Iran) should:
  • Monitor themselves for symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus for 14 days after leaving the affected area
  • Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or Algoma Public Health (705-759-5404 or TF 1-866-892-0172, ext. 5404) or their primary care provider’s office if they experience symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about travel history and symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so that they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures 
Local travellers who went to the PDAC 2020 conference (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada) in Toronto should:
  • For those who attended this conference, monitor symptoms for 14 days.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ministry of Health advise all travellers to monitor their health for fever, cough, and difficulty breathing for 14 days after arriving back in Canada.
  • If symptoms develop within 14 days, returning travellers are directed to self-isolate as quickly as possible and immediately call their health care professionals or Algoma Public Health to make arrangements to be tested.
Returning travellers who have travelled abroad: 
  • If you have travelled outside Canada, it is important to monitor your health when you return to Canada. While abroad, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus. 
  • The Public Health Agency of Canadas asks that you monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada. 
  • If you have these symptoms, contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or Algoma Public Health (705-759-5404 or TF 1-866-892-0172, ext. 5404). They will provide advice on what you should do.

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Payment Options at the Group Health Centre

  1. Online (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Visa Debit)
  2. Call the Accounts Receivable Department at 705-759-5511 (Visa, MasterCard and Amex)
  3. In person at the Group Health Centre front Cashier's Desk (Cash, Debit, Visa, MasterCard or Amex)
  4. Mail the bottom stub of your Group Health Centre statement with payment to:
    Group Health Centre240 McNabb Street
    Sault Ste. Marie Ontario P6B 1Y5
    Attention: Accounts Receivable

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