A triage tent being set up outside Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake by Saturday morning will be used for patients referred by health care providers. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

COVID-19: Triage tent going up outside of Cariboo Memorial Hospital

Patients will be met outside of the hospital

Workers set up a tent outside Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake on the weekend that is being used for assessing patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The area, which is now up and running, is being used as an assessment centre for people who have respiratory symptoms – a possible symptom of the novel coronavirus.

Referrals from health care providers are needed to access the tent. The public is otherwise asked not to approach.

The alternate assessment area is part of wider pandemic plans being put in place by the Interior Health Authority and the Province of B.C.

During a virtual town hall meeting with Interior Health Authority officials held Friday evening, Susan Brown, IHA president and CEO and Dr. Sue Pollock, IHA chief medical officer, answered questions about the region’s pandemic response to date.

Across Interior Health jurisdiction, there are 10 facilities capable of COVID-19 testing and hundreds of tests have already been completed, according to Pollock.

Read more: Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

When asked a question posed by the Tribune about whether health care professionals in the Williams Lake area are being told of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Brown replied only if they are ‘actually’ caring for someone that is positive they would know that to protect themselves and other patients around them.

“But it’s not openly disclosed in the community,” Brown confirmed, reiterating what she had said earlier in the town hall about the need for people to feel safe and to be able to come forward and be tested.

According to the latest update from the provincial government released on Friday, there are positive COVID-19 in the Interior

Across Interior Health jurisdiction, there are 10 facilities capable of COVID-19 testing and hundreds of tests have already been completed, according to Pollock.

“In Interior Health, we have a very rigorous testing strategy here, and we are testing everyone who needs a test, but not everyone needs one,” said Dr. Pollock.

“So we are focusing right now on four priority groups for testing and those priority groups are health care workers, those residents and staff of long-term care facilities, those individuals who are hospitalized or likely to be hospitalized as well as individuals who are associated with outbreaks or clusters.”

As of Monday, March 30, there are 94 cases in Interior Health.

“Every community needs to know they are not immune,” Henry said, noting the province has been working with industrial camps in northern B.C.

With files from Black Press Media reporters Patrick Davies and Trevor Crawley

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