Canadian Medical Association
Q&A

I’ve put off visiting my doctor since the start of the pandemic because of physical distancing measures. When is it safe to make an appointment?

Since the onset of COVID-19, many patients have had to forego in person visits with their physician – despite the fact they require ongoing care.  People with medical conditions or symptoms that require a physical examination may need to be seen in-person. Contact your doctor’s office to discuss your problem and to explore how they’re handling face-to-face appointments.

Many physicians are also providing virtual visits, whether through video, phone or text messaging. The CMA is encouraging patients not to put their health on hold and has created a guide to help patients prepare for “virtual visits” with their doctor. It includes information on which medical conditions are suitable for virtual care, how to arrange a visit, what tools and information to have on hand and what to expect from start to finish.

Download the Virtual Care Guide for Patients here.

I think I have symptoms of COVID-19—should I go to my doctor’s office? The hospital?

Before seeking medical assistance from your physician or a clinic, please call ahead. Should you require immediate attention, call 911.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, you must immediately self-isolate at home. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has created a guide for how to isolate when you may have COVID-19

Many jurisdictions have set up dedicated COVID-19 assessment and testing facilities and services. Check with your local public health unit to see what testing is available where you live, and if you need to call ahead. You should also notify your local public health unit to discuss isolation and self-monitoring and to provide information about others who may have been exposed.

PHAC has also developed a self-assessment tool for COVID-19, to help you track your symptoms, as well as a guide on how to care for a person with COVID-19 at home.

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