Hours extended at COVID-19 clinic amid increased community spread

Stevenson Memorial Hospital has seen the impact of the latest wave, so to support the increased demand, the Alliston hospital partnered with community physicians to expand hours at its COVID-19, Cold and Flu Clinic.

"This is our assessment clinic where we actually have built that in addition to our testing centre," says SMH Director of HR, occupational health and volunteer services Jennifer Manicom.

Patients don't need to test positive to visit the clinic, which opened in Feburary.

"We've been able to support anyone with symptoms through the pandemic. Especially this most recent wave where anyone who is potentially looking for Paxlovid, those types of things or just looking to see a physician," says Manicom.

The clinic has helped ease the strain on the hospital's emergency room.

"We originally started at just two days a week but increased it because the need was there from the community," says Manicom.

The clinic is now open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, the hospital is also offering a virtual program for positive COVID-19 patients who aren't sick enough for the hospital but need monitoring, called COVID at Home.

"We're able to provide coaching during their recovery, so we mitigate the risk of them coming back and being admitted," says SMH Director of Ambulatory Care and Mental Health Kate Ostrovsky.

A team of nurses check in with patients every day for five to 10 days, depending on the situation.

"It has been developed with the partnership of the South Simcoe Ontario health team, and we have received the funding from Ontario health," says Ostrovsky.

COVID at Home is intended for follow-up care and has been running since January.

Ostrovsky says the program has been successful, with positive feedback from patients.

"Sometimes they're just not entirely sure what's next for them, so just providing that support, talking to them daily, checking in on their symptoms," says Ostrovsky.