The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands has activated contingency plans for Primary Care centers in the scenario of a high level of transmission of COVID-19 to Gran Canaria and Tenerife which, among other measures, represent the postponement of diagnostic tests, the introduction of the telephone consultation as a preferential medical care system, the limitation of capacity in health centers and the extension of drug treatments during the next three months to relieve the primary care teams of bureaucratic activity.
In a statement, Health recalls that patients with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 should call 900 112 061 where it is indicated what to do without having to go to the emergency services, which is totally contraindicated in this case. The plans include management measures that make it possible to reconcile the attention to COVID-19 with ordinary activity, thus guaranteeing an adequate response of the assistance services to the current pandemic situation.
10,000 more COVID patients in a month
Primary Care plays an essential role in the pandemic caused by COVID-19, in terms of both diagnosis, by performing Active Infection Diagnostic Tests, and monitoring the COVID patient who does not require hospital admission.
Currently, in addition to non-COVID patient care, health center professionals attend to more than 12,700 active cases, 10,000 more than those registered as of June 30, and carry out the activity of tracking and monitoring the positives and their close contacts.
In addition, Primary Care plays a fundamental role in the vaccination process in which it is mainly the Nursing of the Primary Managers that carries out this activity both in health centers and in established mass vaccination points.
Given the increase in the incidence of SARS CoV-2 transmission among the population and with it the increase in healthcare pressure, the measures contemplated in the contingency plans in both islands are activated.
Priority measures in health centers
– Telephone consultation: Telephone consultation is established as a means of preferential attention, establishing at the discretion of the professional the need for it to be in person to avoid unnecessary risks associated with being physically present in healthcare centers. In this way, the care of patients at higher risk is prioritized over the follow-up consultations of the different health programs, also prioritizing home follow-up.
– Postponement of diagnostic tests: The postponement of diagnostic tests included in the portfolio of Primary Care services is also contemplated, such as the performance of non-essential services such as spirometry, non-occlusive tests (TNO) for the detection of amblyopia in children, minor ambulatory surgery, control retinographies, etc
– Treatment plans are extended: In addition, measures are taken to de-bureaucratize the activity such as the expansion, starting tomorrow and for a period of three months, of the coverage of the treatment plans, with the exception of those containing narcotics, or medications and visa products.
– Reduce administrative tasks: Another measure that is being implemented is the automation of non-urgent medical transport requests in order to reduce administrative tasks in consultation.
– Reorganization of COVID follow-up consultations: The agendas for follow-up consultations with COVID patients and close contacts of positive cases have also been reorganized, reinforced by sending SMS to positive cases with clear instructions to follow.
– Decrease in diagnosis times: The capacity of taking samples has been increased to try to minimize the times of diagnosis of positives.
– Reduce the traffic of people in the centers: The measures are aimed at reducing the traffic of family members and companions in health centers and it will be encouraged that patients, who need it, go to Primary Care centers unaccompanied unless due to age or clinical situation it is essential. In the case of Pediatrics, the minor will attend accompanied by a single adult. In the Emergency Services, circuits will be enabled for the circulation of patients with respiratory disease at the entrance, once the triage has been carried out.
– Limited capacity: Regarding the spaces in the health centers, the waiting rooms are adapted to ensure that non-cohabitants keep the proper safety distance when sitting down, a limited capacity will be established through staggered scheduling of appointments and the waiting areas will be respected. wait, avoiding staying in inappropriate places such as corridors or outside the center.
– Hygiene and individual protection measures: Hygiene and individual protection measures will be maintained in the centers, such as the use of masks at all times, adequate hand washing, safety distance in closed spaces and ventilation.
– Updating of personal data: The Ministry of Health also highlights the work being carried out by the administrative units of the health centers during this phase of the pandemic in which, in addition to its ordinary procedures, it resolves the requests to update essential health card and contact information for citation activities such as vaccination.