New measures, including self-reporting positive rapid antigen test results, are now available through The North Zone Primary Care Network, as cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surge in the region.

North Zone Communications Specialist Judd Dowhy says that the new measures are beneficial for not only Peace Country residents, but health care workers as well.

“In response to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the North Zone PCN worked together to establish resources and support for North Zone residents who wish to self-report their positive rapid tests, as well as access additional resources and support.”

Dowhy says the new system has been well utilized early on by residents and he encourages more people to take advantage of what it has to offer.

“We’re still getting the word out to the public. There’s a lot of COVID-19 information out there and it can be hard to reach people because there’s just a sea of things they’re trying to wade through.”

The new measures include a COVID-19 response team as well, with teams of triage nurses in Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray with the Wood Buffalo PCN, and support from other PCNs.

“These nurses are triaging patients that either call or submit through the web form to report their tests. In cases where the patient has a family physician, we’re updating the physician on their diagnosis,” he explains. “If they don’t have a family physician, we’re arranging for care for their COVID-19 illness.”

The efforts by North Zone PCNs aim to try and take pressure off hospitals, emergency rooms, and physicians’ offices. The North Zone includes Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Bonnyville, Aspen, Bighorn, Cold Lake, Lakeland, McLeod River, Northwest, Peace Region, Saddle Hills, and Wood Buffalo.

To reach the North Zone PCNs, call 1-833-884-2193, or go online.