BOW VALLEY – As Alberta continues to face the global COVID-19 pandemic, five clinics across the Bow Valley have opened their doors for testing.
The announcement follows the April 8 decision by provincial officials to expand testing to anyone showing symptoms within the Calgary zone, which includes Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Exshaw. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, running nose or nasal congestion.
“Not everyone will need a face-to-face consultation," said Bow Valley Primary Care Network’s executive director Yvette Penman in a statement. "For example, it may be more appropriate to have a phone appointment with a physician, or another health professional at the clinic.
“As well, patients who have to visit a clinic will receive instructions over the phone on how to do that while maintaining safe distancing practices.”
As of Wednesday (April 29), there are confirmed 21 cases recorded in the Bow Valley between Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Exshaw – four are active and 17 recovered. The Stoney Nakoda Nation, which spans across three reserve locations, has 15 confirmed cases with one in Morley and 14 in Eden Valley.
Anyone with symptoms is asked to complete the online Alberta Health Services self-assessment tool or call 811 to find out whether or not testing is required. If testing is required, the symptomatic individual is asked to call their local primary clinic so they can arrange a test appointment and get instructions on how to visit the clinic.
Clinics available for COVID-19 testing include:
- Banff's Alpine Medical Clinic – open seven days a week – 403-762-3155
- Banff's Bear St. Family Physicians – open Monday to Friday – 403-762-4846
- Canmore Associate Medical Clinic – open Monday to Friday – 403-678-5585
- Lake Louise Medical Clinic – open Monday to Friday – 403-522-2184
- Canmore's Ridgeview Medical Centre – open seven days a week – 403-609-8333
- Stoney Health Services in Morley – open Monday to Friday – 403-881-3920
Testing will be rolled out in a slightly different way at each location, said Bow Valley Primary Care Network board member Kendra Barrick in a statement.
“When you make an appointment, the clinic will share their process," she said. "Testing may not be in a clinic setting, it could be drive-thru style, or in a parking lot. To ensure staff stay safe, they will be wearing personal protective equipment."
In Eden Valley, band members can get tested in the school parking lot from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Testing is open for those with symptoms, elders, people with medical issues and those facing addiction.
In Morley, band members can get tested at the Stoney Health Trailer, formerly known as the "eye" trailer, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Testing is open for those with symptoms including a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, or diarrhea.
A drive-thru testing centre was opened on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Calgary on April 20, according to a statement from AHS.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the province at the beginning of March with cases increasing to 4,850 as of Tuesday (April 28). Almost 70 per cent of cases are in the Calgary zone, with 202 recorded hospitalization and 80 deaths across Alberta.
“We will get through this," said Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw at a press conference earlier this week.
"There will be an easing of COVID-19 restrictions when it is safe to do so. Please stay the course and protect your friends, family and neighbours as they are protecting you.”
Updated provincial modelling was released earlier this week, showing the number of Albertans hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units as “well below” what original models had predicted.
Later this week, officials will begin announcing measures to “gradually, prudently” move toward more “economic and social activity,” according to Premier Jason Kenney.
But Dr. Hinshaw reminded Albertans the fight has yet to be won.
“I want to stress that this fight is far from over. Modelling is just a projection of a potential future,” she said. “It is not a guarantee, and cases could easily spike in Alberta if we are not careful.”
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