HFAM understands that these can be difficult times.
Primary care has changed in many ways in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. HFAM is working to help ensure family doctors in Hamilton have the best and most up-to-date information as we work together in providing the best possible care to our community.
Primary Care Innovations Inventory
Please complete the Primary Care Innovations Inventory. The innovations and adaptations discovered over the past 6 months of co-existing with COVID-19 are an essential resource for doing our best work in the year to come.
Screening and Swabbing Processes in Hamilton
All COVID testing in Hamilton now requires online booking. The online booking system for COVID tests is available here.
Anyone who has technological limitations to booking online, needs transportation to testing or is experiencing other barriers to accessing testing can contact public health at 905-974-9848.
MoH COVID-19 Patient Screening Guidance
- Provincial Testing Criteria — Updated September 24, 2020
The latest provincial testing criteria were updated on 24 September 2020. These criteria are for patients who are being assessed by public health and family medicine offices and referred to our assessment centres for testing.
New provincial testing criteria
Ontario has updated testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at the greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing. Patients should only be referred to assessment centres for testing if they are:
- Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
- Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
- A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by our local public health unit
- Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Starting on September 25, other people who are not showing symptoms and not eligible for testing as part of groups 2-4 can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies. To find the closest pharmacy, visit Ontario.ca/covidtest.
- Online booking now available for COVID-19 testing in Hamilton
HAMILTON, ON – Effective today, COVID-19 assessment and testing centres have moved to online booking. Residents requiring a COVID-19 test can book online by visiting ww.HamiltonCovidTest.ca.
Over the past several weeks, Hamilton assessment and testing centres and the Public Health Services phone lines have experienced a surge in demand for COVID-19 tests, resulting in the need for an online booking tool. Making the move to online booking will increase residents’ ability to book appointments faster and at their own convenience. Online booking will help to prioritize appointments for those people at greatest risk, symptomatic individuals and close contacts of confirmed cases.
To support this move to online booking and prioritizing patients at greatest risk, the number of walk-ins tested at the assessment centres will be limited, and residents who come to a testing centre without an appointment may be asked to book one online. The Public Health Services COVID-19 booking line will remain available for those who do not have access to book online and those who have accessibility needs. Public Health Services’ COVID-19 Hotline is 905-974-9848.
These changes will require patience from everyone during the transition to the new system of booking appointments, recognizing that demand for testing remains extremely high in Hamilton.
The community partnership of physicians, hospitals, Hamilton Paramedic Service, Good Shepherd Services and Public Health is continuing to refine this process to meet the needs of our community to ensure those at greatest risk are tested quickly.
Learn more about testing and assessment centres, and how to book an appointment for testing by visiting www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/assessment-centres.
- Hamilton assessment and testing centres have experienced a significant surge in demand for COVID-19 tests resulting long line-ups at testing centres.
- Public Health phone lines have nearly doubled their call volumes in recent weeks, now averaging 2,000 calls daily, exceeding capacity.
- As always, regardless of need for a potential COVID-19 test, if someone is very ill and in need of immediate care, they should go to the nearest Urgent Care Centre, Emergency Department or call 911.