How P.E.I. physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors are dealing with COVID-19

Some health providers on P.E.I. are scaling back their practices in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, while others are closing down altogether.

Physiotherapists across the Island to close indefinitely

Mark MacKenzie, president of the P.E.I. Physiotherapy Association, says all members of the public need to share the responsibility of preventing the spread of COVID-19. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Some health providers on P.E.I. are scaling back their practices in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, while others are closing down altogether.

Dental clinics will be closed for two weeks with emergencies being handled on a case-by-case basis.

The P.E.I. Physiotherapy Association had initially asked people who don't have an urgent issue — such as recovering from strokes, car accidents or serious surgeries — to postpone their appointments. But Wednesday morning, the association announced that most clinics across the Island would close indefinitely.

Many providers had already closed their doors, including Reactive Health which has six P.E.I. locations. 

The P.E.I. Chiropractic Association is scaling back its practice.

The P.E.I. College of Optometrists said it is triaging patients to see if they're healthy enough to come in. The association is also asking its members to cancel non-essential appointments like routine eye exams, and is implementing precautions such as breath shields and asking patients not to speak while optometrists examine them. 

Optometrists still available

"We understand the National Optometry Association has provided guidance to only take emergency appointments until further notice," said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison Tuesday. 

Dr. Kelly Bowes, registrar for the P.E.I. College of Optometrists, told CBC News optometrists will still be on hand to repair glasses and answer any eye health concerns patients may have. 

"I just want to encourage patients to feel free to call their local optometrist if they have a concern," said Bowes.

"We do want to keep patients who have problems, that don't need to go to the emergency room, that can be looked after by their optometrist, we want them to see their optometrist. It's a lower-risk environment, and particularly because we're not doing non-essential services."

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

    What should I do if I feel sick?

    Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

    How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.
  • More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Isabella Zavarise


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