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LETTER: Local testing for COVID-19 integral to managing pandemic locally

Editor: I want to express my sincerest thanks to our local medical colleagues, and community in general, during this unprecedented time.

Editor:

I want to express my sincerest thanks to our local medical colleagues, and community in general, during this unprecedented time. 

Specifically, I am inspired by the efforts of our Primary Care Network clinic members, to offer local COVID-19 testing. Our capacity to provide local testing is a testament to their commitment to public health. 

In-kind contributions from primary care clinics in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, and Morley included many hours of preparation, in conjunction with simulations and consultation with the Cumming School of Medicine and O’Brien Institute of Public Health. 

By reducing barriers to testing, the number of tests administered locally has dramatically increased, from 13 in March, to almost 850 in June – with that number expected to swell in the coming weeks – all the while, teams have continued to care for non-COVID patient needs in local family physician practices.   

As re-launch of our tourist-based economy continues, testing capacity becomes ever more important. 

The Office of the Medical Officer of Health has been intimately involved in guiding our response, and locals may see some changes in capacity as we respond to increased testing demands. 

For now, testing of asymptomatic patients will continue, but we are being instructed to prioritize symptomatic patients, or those patients confirmed as close contacts of COVID-19 positive patients, which will result in a delay, or even diversion to Calgary area testing sites, depending on the demand, for those seeking asymptomatic testing. 

I ask for your understanding, and thank you for your patience.

Again, thank you to the Bow Valley’s dedicated and committed family physicians, clinic and Primary Care Network staff, local health officials, our patients, and the community at large, for your incredible assistance and compliance with the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s pandemic emergency response. 

Dr. Dino Smiljic,

Medical director at Bow Valley Primary Care Network 



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