The way you receive care from your family doctor in the Comox Valley is changing.

Dr. Adam Thompson with the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice says new measures are going to be introduced to help keep staff and community members safe.

“You will notice changes when you contact your Family Doctor’s office. These have been put in place to reduce the spread of this virus – not only amongst our patients, many of whom are frail and elderly but amongst the physicians and their teams. We want to make sure that doctors (and other primary care providers including midwives and nurse practitioners) and their teams stay healthy so that they can continue to look after you,” says Thompson.

Those changes will start right at the front door.

The Comox Valley Division of Family Practice (CVDFP) says you should not drop into your doctor’s office as you may be turned away. Instead, the CVDFP says It’s best to call ahead or make contact first through other channels such as email or through online portals.

face-to-face contacts or appointments with doctors.

Thompson says in order to limit face-to-face contacts or appointments, doctors will be conducting assessments both over the phone and online.

“To delay the spread of COVID-19 we are reducing face-to-face contacts. In many cases, this will mean using phone-calls and online assessments and follow-ups. All physicians are able to provide effective care in this way and will ensure the patient is brought to the office for an examination when needed.”

He added that by cutting down on the number of face-to-face visits staff are also using social distancing by minimizing the number of patients in the waiting room.

The CVDFP says patients who have stable chronic disease are encouraged to consider delaying any non-urgent lab work to decrease your need to go to the laboratory.

It also says prescription supplies might be extended to lower the need to go to the drug store.

Thompson says right now is the time we need to be practicing social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We do know that the Coronavirus is in the Comox Valley and as a result, we need everyone to be taking measures to prevent transmission. Even people with very mild symptoms may pass on this virus. It doesn’t serve anyone to think it’s not in my community and won’t affect me. The precautions are for everybody in every community. The message is clear: for anyone who has not taken the calls to action seriously, it is not too late. You are being asked to take seriously your responsibility to your community and your loved ones.”

“Social distancing is currently seen as the main way to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes avoiding groups, crowded places and places with more than 50 people where social distancing can’t be maintained.”

“This means avoiding direct contact such as handshaking and hugging, and maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres between you and others. Restricting direct person-to-person contact will greatly reduce the spread of the virus. It is unknown how long this will be needed. The need for social distancing will be monitored closely in the weeks and months ahead,” Thompson added.