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Northern Health’s COVID-19 hotline getting swamped with calls

Northern Health’s online COVID-19 clinic and information line has experienced a significant increase in call volumes in recent weeks, leading to an increase in wait times for assessment and information.

Northern Health is working to hire more people for the clinic, in order to increase call capacity and hours of operation, and to reduce current wait times for assessment.

Callers to the online clinic who are seeking assessment and referral for testing, as well as general information, have a few options, including waiting on the line for the next available nurse, or phoning back at another time.

Northern Health encourages northern B.C. residents who have a primary care provider, to contact their family doctor or nurse practitioner as a first step for assessment for testing, whenever possible. Primary care providers may be able to offer a virtual appointment to support COVID-19 and other health care needs. B.C. also has a Self-Assessment tool, if you are unsure whether to seek medical care or get tested.

Callers looking for general COVID-19 health information are encouraged to visit the Northern Health and BC Centre for Disease Control websites, for answers to their questions.

If you are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms, Northern Health continues to ask that you self-isolate, and contact your primary care provider or the online clinic; please do not head to a testing centre without an assessment and referral/appointment. This is for the protection of staff and other patients at COVID-19 test collection centres, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Northern Health recognizes that waits for testing and results can be frustrating, but it is very important to stay away from others when you may be infectious to others.

Following your test, there are a number of ways to get your negative results including online, by phone, or by text. Visit the BCCDC web page on Test Results, for more information.

The NH Online Clinic and Info Line is staffed by a pool of NH staff, nurses, physicians and nurse practitioners. Current hours of operation are Monday to Friday,  10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holidays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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