Anthony Desloges, Canadian Neurosurgery PA on the Frontlines of COVID-19

Canadian Neurosurgery PA in Ottawa, who is on the frontlines working at a COVID-19 screening centre:

“The best management for COVID-19 for mild symptoms without respiratory distress is to self-isolate until you are feeling better. A trip to the assessment centre is not necessary in these cases and puts you and others at risk of contracting the virus”.

The Canadian healthcare system was under significant stress PRIOR to the COVID-19 pandemic with issues surrounding access to healthcare, hallway medicine and barriers to providing community care. With an already overburdened system we are now seeing a surge in non-urgent illness presenting to hospitals.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic front line members of the hospital and from the community including Physician Assistants, Doctors and Nurses have been redeployed to the assessment centres or other screening areas.

Departments, such as the one I am part of have undergone restructuring to continue to provide essential acute care to hospitalized and emergency patients with limited staff. Reassuringly our team of PAs, NPs, RNs and Physicians are working hard and our patients are well cared for.

As for our outpatients we have moved to OTN and Telemedicine follow-up for test results and routine care. Any urgent follow-ups will continue to be managed in hospital with appointments.

As of today, our hospital is on a strict NO visitor restriction with exceptions for compassionate grounds or scheduled appointments.”


Screening for COVID-19

Here in national capital and across the province healthcare providers are continuing to prepare for the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. This includes changes at the hospital level with department restructuring and redistribution of resources to where they are needed most.

Physician Assistants, Physicians, Clerks, Nurses and Cleaning Staff continue to run COVID-19 assessment centres to help decompress the emergency room.

For patients during this stressful time, it is important to know where to go when you need help. The screening centres are swabbing individuals who are “high-risk” including:

  • Those who have traveled in the past 14 days AND who are exhibiting symptoms [Fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath].
  • Those who have been in contact with individuals who have tested positive AND are exhibiting symptoms.

Criteria for swab/screening is continuously evolving and it is important to check your local health department’s website or call to see if you qualify prior presenting to a hospital or assessment centre.

If you are immunocompromised or in contact with vulnerable populations but do not meet criteria it is important for you to self-isolate until you are feeling better. For individuals with mild symptoms and no respiratory distress, swabbing will not change management of self-isolation. It is recommended that you follow-up with your family physician by eVisit or telephone if possible.

Anyone in significant respiratory distress should not present to an assessment centre and should call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as possible.

-Anthony, Canadian PA in Neurosurgery and Front Line Assessment Centre Medical Staff

About Anthony Desloges, CCPA

Anthony is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant working in Neurosurgery in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a PA Consortium graduate.

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