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Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton has opened the doors to its new
Viral Clinic. In response to the
COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital quickly set up a temporary respiratory clinic in
a large yellow tent in the hospital’s parking lot. It was designed
to handle people with respiratory problems and winnow out those who showed
signs of being infected with the virus from those with more common forms
of illness such as the flu or asthma, or even from healthy clients coming
into the hospital for other reasons. Those with symptoms can then be safely
treated and tested while other patients are also attended to.
Unfortunately, the highly transmissible virus doesn’t appear to be
going away anytime soon. The silver lining on this dark cloud, however,
is that the viral clinic is not going away either and has been permanently
incorporated into the hospital facility.
The entry to the clinic is adjacent to Community Care [Marcus Daly Convenient Care Clinic], which already provides a lot of outpatient sick care, including care
and treatment of upper respiratory infection. Chief Medical Staff Officer
Dr. April Weinberger called it a “natural decision” to move
the emergency respiratory care into an area where the staff is used to
handling that sort of thing.
A person would head for the clinic if they are experiencing any sort of
respiratory symptoms such as a cough, congestion, a runny nose, shortness
of breath, but also for other things such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea,
fevers and chills, all of which are acute symptoms and can be treated
at the Viral Clinic.
The clinic does have the ability to test for COVID-19. Dr. Weinberger said
that calling in first is the recommended procedure. By making appointments,
congestion and waiting at the clinic can be minimized. Generally, the
calls lead to same-day appointments. At the clinic, anyone showing symptoms
is ushered into the Viral Clinic. Weinberger said that people who think
they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and want to be tested need to contact
the Public Health Department. She said that department would help them
decide if their potential exposure was serious enough to warrant testing.
She said anyone should probably first call their primary care doctor.