We hope this finds you well as we all continue to navigate the rapidly changing environment related to COVID-19. The ACAC is actively monitoring federal and provincial government announcements regarding pandemic management and economic supports. Please visit our website often for updates.
Our update today is focused on guidance for responding to a confirmed/suspected exposure to COVID-19 via a patient. This information was developed in consultation with Alberta Health Services and the Medical Officer of Health and utilizes a symptom-based inquiry approach.
- Routinely pre-screen patients before they arrive: The best response is prevention. Clinics should be routinely contacting patients in advance of their arrival to ask if they are well. Specifically ask the following:
- If they have had fevers, cough, shortness of breath, or cough/cold symptoms; and
- Have they traveled outside of he country in the last 14 days. This may be less helpful in the future as travel patterns change but is currently still relevant; and
- Have they had a confirmed exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
Patients with any of these symptoms should not be in the clinic and their appointment should be rescheduled to a minimum of 14 days later.
- If a patient does not disclose their symptoms until after they arrive: Immediately advise the patient to leave and disinfect the common areas where they had contact. Reschedule their appointment a minimum of 14 days later.
- If a patient discloses that they have a confirmed exposure to COVID-19 within 14 days before their last appointment: Contact Public Health at 811 and follow their advice.
This guidance acknowledges that as people are increasingly exposed to others in the community with COVID-19 infection but are unaware of their infectious status, it is likely that there will be exposure in the clinic. As such, the clinic has discretion on how to respond or manage patient disclosures of suspected exposure. The ACAC recommends that clinics take a very conservative approach in deciding what approach to take.
We acknowledge this guidance may be less definitive that you may wish. However, it is the guidance we have received to date.
Finally, an FAQ has been developed with questions received to date. This will continue to be updated as questions are received so please check back frequently.