Doctors in the Cowichan Valley want to ensure people are getting the medical care they need during the COVID-19 Pandemic, whether it’s at a doctor’s office, an emergency care centre, or at the emergency department of Cowichan District Hospital.

Physicians, Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice, and Island Health have collaborated on an information campaign called Right Care Right Time Right Place.

Cowichan District Medical Staff Society vice-president Dr. Tracey Stephenson says physicians, the Cowichan District Medical Association, and Island Health leadership collaborated to help patients understand what has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted to let the public know that it was safe to come for medical care because there’s a lot of fear since the COVID pandemic started.”

Dr. Stephenson says new protocols mean things look different and the changes may be intimidating to some patients. She says they want to reassure people that it’s safe to go to the doctor.

“We wanted to help them find the care that they need – in the right time frame – and go to the right place so that they are not ending up doing extra steps to try to get the care that they need”

Dr. Stephenson says doctors are seeing patients, either virtually or at their offices in person, depending on individual needs.

She also says the Cowichan Hospital emergency room is prepared to receive people and says no one should hesitate if they need emergency medical care.

Dr. Stephenson says the new protocols are putting pressure on the physicians and nurses at the Cowichan Regional Hospital. She says the protocols and changes mean they cannot have as many patients in the hospital and it takes longer to do things:

“So we want to make sure that patients who need to come to the hospital absolutely come to the hospital, but those who don’t are getting care in a more appropriate setting.”

Three videos have been produced to help people understand how to visit family doctors, seek help at one of the urgent care centres in the valley, or how patients are being received at the emergency room of the hospital.

They have also created informative posters that are displayed in doctors’ offices and on the Thrifty’s billboard near the Highway-1 and Beverly Avenue corner.

People seeking information or to view the three videos can go to the Cowichan Valley page of the physician and family practice website or visit the Island Health website.

Dr. Stephenson says people can share these videos with others via social media.