Sarnia, Petrolia hospitals setting up community assessment offices


Lambton Public Health and Bluewater Health hope to have assessment centres set up in both Sarnia and Petrolia for people who show symptoms of COVID 19.

The World Health Organization announced Tuesday the fast-spreading flu-like illness is now a pandemic. Sports leagues in North America including the NBA, NHL and major league baseball have suspended their seasons in the wake of the spread of the disease. Most people recover from COVID 19, but seniors are hard hit by the disease –  it can kill up 10 to 15 per cent of elderly people who become ill.

In a letter issued to the media, the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sudit Ranade and the Chief of Staff at Bluewater Health, Dr. Mike Haddad, say the risk in Sarnia-Lambton is still low. The best defence against COVID-19 is washing your hands frequently, sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and staying home when you are sick.

Julia Oosterman, director of communications, says the hospital is now working on setting up community assessment centres in both Sarnia and Petrolia where people can go for testing if they suspect they might have COVID 19. Oosterman says the idea is to direct people who may be infected away from the hospital, reducing the risk of people who are already compromised getting sick.

For now, Oosterman says anyone suspecting they have COVID 19 symptoms should call their family doctor for initial assessment by phone and possible testing.