In late 2019, the COVID-19 virus emerged and spread rapidly across the globe. As we scrambled to stop the spread, our daily lives changed dramatically. Everyone was impacted in some way, and for some the impact was devastating: the pandemic caused lost jobs, isolation, and stress. This is a very challenging time, and it’s normal to need support. On this page, we’ve listed some frequently asked questions and resources related to family & employment during COVID-19.
Click here to self-check for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are showing COVID-19 symptoms, then immediately:
In Alberta, you can get tested by visiting a healthcare professional or local public health authority. You will have to make a testing appointment and bring your Alberta Health care card. This can be done in one of three ways:
If you have a medical need — sudden flu symptoms, nagging back pain, an unexpected rash or even think you might have COVID-19 — who is your first point of contact?
A family physician can be the right answer for many healthcare situations, including COVID-19. They can help you at any stage of life. They treat a wide range of conditions and can provide you with a diagnosis and prescribe you with the necessary medication.
When doctors treat you for years, they get to know your medical history inside and out. That helps them make accurate diagnoses, watch for red flags regarding medications and monitor changes in your health through the years. That information is important when assessing stress and anxiety.
Family doctors do your yearly check-up. But they also can help you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. They can treat acute situations such as sinus infections and injuries. They can help you throughout a pregnancy. They also can perform minor surgical procedures, such as freezing a wart or draining an abscess. These are but a few examples, and the list goes on.
Most family doctors in Alberta are members of Primary Care Networks (PCNs). PCNs are groups of family doctors who work alongside nurses, mental health therapists, pharmacists, social workers and other health professionals to meet the everyday health needs of Albertans in the communities in which they live and work.
PCNs develop services that can include free workshops, after-hours care and health promotion programs. They also improve care coordination throughout the healthcare system and partner with local hospitals. Together, your family doctor and your PCN are your home base for a healthier future.
Using more primary care saves money for a healthcare system. For example, according to an insurance study, a 23% increase in primary care spending in Rhode Island led to an 18% reduction in total healthcare spending. And data suggests that adding one primary care physician (such as a family doctor) for every 10,000 people can lower hospital admissions by 5.5%, emergency room visits by 11% and surgeries by 11%.
It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed during this time. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and remind yourself to look after your physical and mental health. Your goal during this time is to practice self care.
We are in flu season as well as a pandemic, so taking care of physical health is important. Try to eat healthy, drink lots of fluids, and exercise, while avoiding bad habits such as eating too much junk food, or drinking alcohol more than usual.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The pandemic and social isolation can be extremely stressful, so make sure you are getting enough sleep. Make time for yourself and your favourite pastimes such as reading, having a bath, or cooking a special meal for yourself. Maintain social connection through social media, phone, or video platforms. Just because you are staying home does not mean you can’t be connected!
If the stress feels overwhelming, consider reaching out for help, such as a counsellor. Click here to book a free session with a Healthy Minds counsellor.
Travel restrictions have been enforced due to COVID-19 to protect society from the virus. It is for yours and others’ safety and security that travel restrictions have been placed. Aside from travel restrictions, some regions require a 14-day self-isolation period upon arrival. Calculate your time carefully to make sure you have time for quarantine when arriving in the other city/country as well as when coming back home.
However, alternative options are open. You may opt to make phone calls or even video calls using applications such as Skype. Although these methods may not allow you to be in the physical presence of your relatives, these are safer methods for the time being.
If you cannot see your relatives for reasons involving abuse or someone else is limiting your access to your family, get help from the following sources: