FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Angela DeSmit, Northeast COO of Northern Health, was on Moose Talks Friday morning to discuss changes in regards to COVID-19.

Some of the changes Northern Health has implemented is that they no longer have large waiting rooms, chairs and seating have been taken out, there are markings on the floor to help with physical distancing, a screener has been placed outside asking questions in relation to symptoms and reason for coming in. Northern Health has also been scheduling appointments for labs, x-rays anything like that to avoid foot traffic. There is also a restriction on visitors.

DeSmit says that Northern Health has begun doing elective surgeries, rehab, and diagnostics. They’ve begun to rebook appointments that have been cancelled and are noticing with bookings there is less wait time. DeSmit also stated that within six weeks they should be caught up on surgeries and that they’ve been able to do about 10 to 15 a day with the additional time between to thoroughly clean. ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) surgeries are at 75 percent of what they were before COVID-19.

When it comes to being prepared should the second wave of COVID-19 happen, DeSmit says Northern Health will be more prepared this time around. The Fort St. John Hospital now has a testing machine onsite for COVID-19 tests. Instead of the three to five-day wait for results, they can be done in as easily as two hours or half a days wait, depending on the urgency and the amount done a day.

DeSmit also states that swabbing for COVID-19 can be collected from anywhere and that residents don’t always have to come to the hospital to do so.

You can watch the video below for more information.