As growing concerns over COVID-19 exposure escalate, more people are questioning whether they may or may not be exhibiting coronavirus symptoms. To help wade through the uncertainty, companies across Ontario are offering online tools, such as virtual doctor’s appointments, in this time of need.
As of Wednesday, there are 183 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ontario, with 104 confirmed cases in Toronto. There are currently 1,567 under investigation and another 9,415 that have been found negative.
It’s easy to understand the reasoning behind the sheer volume of inquiries. Sure, a cough or runny nose could be the result of a common cold. Or, it could also point to a coronavirus infection. People just don’t know. Especially since the symptoms can range from mild to severe, including: fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, runny nose and diarrhea.
Regardless, people are being told to self-isolate after any indication of illness and to follow the necessary precautions outlined by Ontario’s Ministry of Health (OMH).
If you think you are showing signs of COVID-19, Public Health Ontario asks that you take their self-assessment. After that, OMH is encouraging people to contact Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000). However, with an unprecedented amount of calls coming in, there are other alternatives, too.
Maple’s virtual care
Meet Maple, the leading virtual care platform in Canada. The company is rolling out online coronavirus (COVID-19) screenings with live physicians to all Ontario residents as of March 17.
During the outbreak, the public-facing Maple platform will continue to operate 24/7 across Ontario. It is offering online medical visits via instant message, video, and phone to anyone with a valid OHIP card.
— Lumino Health (@LuminoHealth) March 17, 2020
Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart health care is moving online to provide free health consultations with Maple. The new service extends beyond coronavirus-related inquiries and applies to any medical or health concerns. Visitors can consult with a qualified doctor online between March 16 to 23 and get free medical advice, prescriptions, doctor’s notes and more.
In order to help Canadians get access to the care they need during this time, Shoppers Drug Mart is providing access to virtual care services to help relieve the burden on the healthcare system, at no cost to patients.
— Shoppers Drug Mart (@ShopprsDrugMart) March 17, 2020
Primary care physicians
Some in-patient visits may no longer be necessary, thanks to a new release from the Ministry of Health. New temporary fee codes have been assigned to allow insurance to cover some virtual services. Which means family physicians can now conduct would-be visits by telephone or video call. The new service can include specialist consultations, minor patient assessments, mental health counselling and more. So reach out to your family physician if you’re exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, or have other health concerns.
In response to the pandemic crisis, the Ontario Ministry of Health has implemented temporary fee codes that enable physicians to bill for a greatly expanded scope of virtual care – including both audio and video visits – using any appropriate technology. https://t.co/R5VsabzNBA
— OTN (@OTNtelemedicine) March 16, 2020
Forest Hill Family Health Centre
The team at Forest Hill Family and Health Centre has closed their walk-in clinic but will continue to operate on a virtual appointment basis. All appointments have now been replaced with a phone or video consult for the time being.
Watson Medical Clinic
The Watson Medical Clinic has also moved online and will continue to operate on a virtual basis only during this time. They will also be conducting phone and video-calling appointments. You can book a virtual appointment directly through their website.
If symptoms worsen or further medical action is required, visit one of Toronto’s COVID-19 assessment centres.