Medical services in Lloydminster are expected to reopen with the rest of Saskatchewan on May 4 but there is no guarantee they will.
Optometrists, dentists and physical therapists are allowed to go back to regular service in the first phase of the Re-open Saskatchewan plan. The medical services listed in this phase are also governed by their own individual regulatory bodies on both sides of the border.
Medical services in Lloydminster located in Alberta would need to get confirmation from an Albertan medical associations and the same for clinics in Saskatchewan.
Dr. Nekky Jamal, dentist and owner of Wayside Dental Centre, says his office is currently waiting patiently for an answer from the Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C) on whether they can reopen.
“I think the government’s announcement got everyone excited but as independent health professionals whether you’re a chiropractor, optometrist or a dentist we need to make sure we’re keeping everybody safe and our independent regulatory bodies will tell us when it’s safe to do so.”
The clinic will only be offering emergency services until they get the green light from the ADA&C. The ADA&C could also restrict some of their services if it’s deemed to cause a greater risk of spreading infection. Jamal says the associations have a difficult task in determining what can and can’t be done during the pandemic.
“We have to do it in a responsible manner and our utmost concern is our communities safety and our patients safety. Until we have a better handle of what’s out there, we won’t know when we can return to regular care.”
Jamal says eventually all their services, much like businesses in Saskatchewan, will return.
“Think of it like a light dimmer switch, right now the lights are essentially off, except if it’s a severe emergency, but over the next weeks and months, as our public health officials learn more and get a handle of the numbers, the lights will slowly turn on.”
Jamal says Wayside Dental is prepared to reopen as they have the proper personal protective equipment in place. He says they are well stocked in N95 masks, face shields and have air purifiers running throughout the clinic as well as UV lights in the air duct system to help prevent the spread of bacteria.
Wayside Dental has been receiving several messages and phone calls since the Government of Saskatchewan’s announcement. Jamal notes there’s also been many calls supporting the staff coming into the clinic as well.
“I’m so happy when people call and share support and thank us for trying to keep people out of the hospital. People are making scrub caps for us or they drop off cookies and this is why I love Lloydminster. I’m proud to be a part of the community and that people care about us that much.”
Westlake Dental, located on the Saskatchewan side of the city, is also waiting for information from the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CDSS) before opening their doors again.
MyLloydminsterNow reached out to the CDSS and the ADA&C for more information but did not hear back by publishing time.