Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Nk’Mip Resource Centre is advising Osoyoos Indian Band residents to listen to the provincial and federal health authorities’ advice to stay home and wash your hands —as the clinic remains open via phone and is only taking vital in-person visits.
This advisory comes after a full week of increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases around the province, including 30 in the Interior Health region as of Monday morning.
The virus has proved deadly for many seniors or immune-compromised individuals, but Dr. Peter Entwistle of the Nk’Mip Resource Centre said no matter what the concerns, the general message remains the same.
“For many people, the best plan is going to be stay at home and self isolate, regardless of your age, regardless of your medical condition,” said Dr. Entwistle.
The clinic will not be seeing patients face to face until they have called the clinic and it has been deemed necessary. This is to help remove clutter from the health care system in the area at this time of crisis, said Dr. Entwistle. However, the clinic is still providing services to patients after a phone call if needed.
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“What we’re offering is virtual phone consult,” said Dr. Entwistle. “We’re working with part of a healthcare team here, and we have a dedicated line that’s open seven days a week for our patients that they can contact for advice or if they have concerns. We’re not seeing anyone physically until we’ve spoken to them on the phone.”
The clinic is following all precautions to stay on top of the developing COVID-19 situation, including ramping up cleaning efforts and helping to ease the strain placed on the local hospital by offering services like blood testing on site, if it is essential for patient care.
Dr. Entwistle and the health centre team are aware that the aging population among both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in the area put the community at a high risk if an outbreak does occur.
When asked for what advice he would like to give to the community, Dr. Enwistle said the what he would like to see is, “self-isolation, being considerate to others and not panic buying. Not overwhelming the health care system by over stocking medications, being patient and if you do have to go to a healthcare facility to call first. Oh, and wash your hands!”
Patients of OIB and Dr. Entwistle’s can access urgent medical and nursing support from the team seven days a week at 250-498-6935, as the clinic is aiming to give outreach as well to patients who do not have a family physician.