AHS changes priorities to test for COVID-19

SPN Staff

Alberta Health Services has changed priorities for testing people for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Travellers who returned to Alberta after March 12 and have mild symptoms will no longer be tested for COVID-19, says an AHS news release March 23 at 5 p.m.

“Instead, the same advice applied to all Albertans will apply to them, to self-isolate at home and away from others,” says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

“This change is effective going forward, so anyone who has already been told by Health Link that they will be tested will still get tested.”

Testing will be prioritized for the following individuals, if they are symptomatic:

  • People who are hospitalized with respiratory illness.
  • Residents of continuing care and other similar facilities.
  • People who returned from travelling abroad between March 8 and 12, before the self-isolation protocols were in place.
  • Anyone with symptoms who does not fit any of these categories should stay home and self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.

Several people have contacted AHS to offer their help as health-care volunteers.

Though the outpouring of support is appreciated, at this time volunteer resources will be reaching out to contact registered volunteers where needed. For more information, Alberta Health Services has guidelines in place online at www.albertahealthservices.ca.

People not experiencing symptoms are being reminded that they can and should get outside, keeping in mind the importance of social distancing and restrictions on mass gatherings.

Testing is referred through Health Link 811.

Anyone who feels they may have COVID is required to phone 811.

Do not go to a physician’s office, a healthcare facility or a lab without consulting Health Link 811 first.

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