HHHS to resume non-urgent surgeries, procedures, tests
By Sue Tiffin
Non-urgent care is reopening as the province does.
Haliburton Highlands Health Services announced that non-urgent procedures and tests will start to resume following their postponement since March 19 due to the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario.
Ontario Health has given formal approval to Campbellford Memorial Hospital, Northumberland Hills Hospital, Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Ross Memorial Hospital and HHHS to begin resuming non-urgent surgeries, procedures and tests.
“We will proceed gradually and carefully as we ramp up diagnostics, such as ultrasound and post-surgical support programs, such as physiotherapy,” said Carolyn Plummer, HHHS president and CEO in a community update released May 29. “HHHS staff will reach out to patients as spaces become available, and we will be prioritizing patients based on risk and urgency.”
A May 29 press release announcing the gradual resuming of non-urgent care reads: “Patients should continue to communicate with their physician’s office while they wait for their surgery, procedure or test to be rescheduled. If you are a patient waiting for non-urgent hospital care and your symptoms change during this time, please let your doctor know.”
Many HHHS supportive programs that include mental health services, specialized geriatric programs, diabetes education, hospice palliative care and various community support service programs have continued through telephone and virtual supports.
Plummer noted the health and safety of staff, patients, residents and the community, and the health organization’s capacity to respond to local COVID-19 activity, remained the top priority. To date, eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Haliburton County have been resolved. In total there have been 177 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district according to the health unit with 149 resolved.
Thirty-two deaths have been reported, all in the City of Kawartha Lakes, with 29 of those deaths being related to an outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon which was declared over in mid-May.
Call ahead to book COVID-19 test
Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing in Haliburton County. HHHS said last week if you have at least one symptom of the virus, even if it is a mild symptom; if you are concerned you might have been exposed to COVID-19 as a result of contact with a confirmed or suspected case; or if you are at risk of exposure of COVID-19 as a result of your employment, including essential workers such as health care workers, grocery store employees, and other front-line workers, you qualify for testing.
“To help control volume and protect the health and safety of assessment centre staff, an appointment is required for COVID-19 testing – but no Ontarian who is symptomatic or is concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19 will be declined a test,” said Plummer.
Anyone who meets the criteria and wants to make an appointment is asked to call the Haliburton Family Medical Centre at 705-457-1212 and press 6 during regular business hours. A drive-through site is available.