PATIENT ADVISORY: COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION
COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION (updated: 3/30/2023)
Effective April 3, 2023, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will end the Secretary of Health Mask Order. However, “Puget Sound-area health care facilities will continue requiring masks.” A group of Washington hospital and public health leaders decided this on March 24, 2023. (Reference: The Seattle Times, March 24, 2023) Local hospitals remain UNCHANGED about the mask requirement, and YES, that means we are still requiring masks in healthcare settings.
We do see patients with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, chemotherapy for cancer, obesity, and the elderly. They are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and will be waiting in our office with their diagnoses unknown to the public. While they are in our office, we are trying to protect them from someone who has the virus but is asymptomatic. Unfortunately the COVID-19 virus is still with us. With everyone wearing a mask, we can prevent spreading of the virus to each other. Therefore, we continue to require all the patients who come to our office to wear a mask.
Healthcare professionals for the past 3 years have been under much stress about the pandemic. Your wearing a mask helps to diminish some of this stress and is greatly appreciated.
WE THANK YOU SINCERELY FOR YOUR COOPERATION IN CONTINUING TO WEAR A MASK FOR THE SHORT TIME THAT YOU ARE IN THE OFFICE!
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Our response to the present COVID-19 pandemic necessitates that we implement a variety of new office policies to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19. These policies are adopted with guidance from local healthcare
authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Prior to coming into the office for an appointment you will be screened by our office staff by telephone to inquire whether or not you might have symptoms of COVID-19.
These screening questions include, but are not limited to, questions concerning whether or not you might have a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, the new onset of lethargy, confusion, or disorientation. We will take your temperature with a non-contact thermometer, when you enter the office. If appropriate, we will refer you to a general physician, or public health clinic should it appear that you might benefit from this.
Many patients with COVID-19 have some of these symptoms, but some carriers of the virus, may also be asymptomatic. We will therefore maintain health practices with the view in mind that anyone may be a potential carrier. Practicing social distancing, applying protective barriers, sanitary measures, and office reorganization that limits the number of patients that may be in the office at any one time.
Protective masks that cover the nose and mouth have been demonstrated to diminish the spread of COVID-19. Out of our respect and concern for you and for your family, our office staff will wear protective masks. We insist that anyone coming into the office for an examination wear a mask. Unfortunately, as personal protective equipment is difficult to source, we strongly suggest that you obtain a mask for yourself, and discourage our clientele from relying upon us for one. Masks with valves in them enables a wearer to exhale more easily through them. This potentially facilitates aerosolized virus, to go forward as exhaust into the air. If you wear this type of mask, you will be required to wear a second mask over the top of this one while in the office. If you are unable to fabricate or obtain a mask for yourself for your scheduled appointment we will sell one to you for $2.00, an option available only until limited supply runs out.
When you arrive for your office visit we ask that you telephone our office when you have arrived in our parking lot. We would have you, wait briefly in your car until we have certified that appropriate social distancing can be maintained and that it is a convenient time for you to come inside our offices for your examination. We insist during this pandemic that only the patient come inside the office by themselves for examination, and that accompanying family members wait in the car. An exception is made only for necessary caregivers, translators, or parents of our very young patients.
MASK AND SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES:
USE AND CARE OF MASKS:
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TO READ THE ARTICLE ABOUT "PUGET SOUND-AREA HEALTH CARE FACILITIES WILL CONTINUE REQUIRING MASKS", PLEASE CLICK HERE.