Family doctors in the Comox Valley will continue to be there for you.

So says the physician lead with the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice.

Dr. Adam Thompson said you can contact your family practice in the usual way by contacting their office by phone or online (if available) to book an appointment. 

“This initial appointment will be by phone or video,” Thompson said.

“This is to keep everyone safe – our patients, our staff and family doctors – through reducing risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

Thompson added that if there is a need to see a doctor face-to-face, this will happen through agreement and discussion with you.

He also noted that there is an international shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

To reduce the usage of PPE, new clinics have been created to offer face-to-face assessments. 

Following your virtual appointment you may be referred by your family doctor, walk-in clinic doctor, specialist or nurse practitioner to one of the following clinics where physical assessments are being provided.

Both of these clinics require a referral:

Assessment Clinic at Comox Valley Hospital – for those of who have symptoms of cough, fever, etc. and need a physical examination. (These are in the trailers in front of the Emergency at the Comox Valley Hospital)

The new CAPE (Community Assessment and Physical Examination) Clinic for those who do not have any respiratory symptoms and need a physical examination. 

The location, which opened on Wednesday, will be shared with those being referred as this is not a drop-in clinic.

If you do not require a physical assessment, and meet the current criteria for swabbing for COVID-19, you will be referred to the drive-through Testing Site at Comox Valley Hospital. (The tents in front of Emergency).

Thompson answered some of the questions about patient care moving forward:

How will the CAPE Clinic coordinate care with my doctor?

The doctor at the CAPE Clinic will have your medical history from the doctor who refers you.

They will share the findings of the examination with the doctor who referred you.

If it’s simple and straightforward or needs prompt action, you will be given treatment after the examination, otherwise the doctor who referred you will follow up with you about the next steps later that day or the next day. 

“It is worth remembering that a diagnosis is reached with a lot more

information than a physical examination – it is your medical history, the symptoms you’ve discussed with your doctor, the examination and any investigations such as blood tests and x-rays that help a doctor make a diagnosis,” Thompson said.

Is my doctor’s office open?

Yes, but don’t contact your regular doctor if you have any medical concerns. 

Appointments are typically done virtually via video conference or telephone, and appointments can be booked in the usual way.

What if I don’t have a family doctor?

If this is the case, you should contact one of the walk-in clinics or access the service you usually do for primary care. 

Following a phone/video conference appointment, you can then be referred to one of the physical assessment clinics.

Does the CAPE Clinic offer a drop-in service?

No, both the CAPE Clinic and the Assessment Clinic can only be accessed through referral from a doctor or nurse practitioner.