COVID-19 Vaccine Update

We do not know WHEN we will have COVID-19 vaccines available for patients. First priority in Arizona is for health care workers. It may be a few months before vaccines are available for patients.

 We will send out automated phone calls and post additional information on our website and via the patient portal once we have more information.

Please continue to watch or read the local news. If you see that COVID-19 vaccines are available for your age or risk group through the health department, a local hospital or pharmacy, we recommend to proceed with getting the vaccine that way.

Camp Lowell Medical Specialists Changes through COVID-19 Crisis

As we resume face-to-face appointments at Camp Lowell Medical Specialists, protecting the health and safety of our patients, visitors, and staff is more important now than ever. We’ve implemented many protocols during the COVID-19 crisis that we’ll continue to follow. Here’s what you can expect at your upcoming appointment:

We encourage all of our patients, but especially those over 60 or with underlying health issues, to practice “social distancing” to minimize spread of COVID-19 in the community. This means to STAY HOME and avoid gathering in public places. Cancel any non-critical appointments or meetings. If you must go to a grocery store, try to go at a less busy time; you can also have your groceries delivered. Please contact the office if you need assistance with obtaining meals.

 

Visitation Policy

You should attend appointments alone unless a support person is essential to your treatment or care, such as:

If you have physical mobility issues or speech/comprehension complications

If you need assistance during or after a procedure

Screening

We will screen everyone who comes into our practices for fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Masks

All patients, visitors, and staff are required to wear masks while at our practice. The primary benefit of wearing a cloth mask is to reduce the chance that the user shares germs with others. According to the CDC, people primarily contract COVID-19 through coughs, sneezes and other respiratory droplets. That’s why wearing a mask even if you don’t feel sick can be a good idea. The mask needs to cover the nose and mouth at all times. Masks with an exhalation valve are not permitted since they only protect the wearer and do not protect others.

We have elderly and immunocompromised patients in our practice and safety needs to remain a priority. To conserve masks for our staff, we encourage you to bring a mask from home.

Social Distancing

We will continue following social distancing guidelines. To support this effort, the waiting area has been reconfigured to meet personal spacing requirements. Also, you may be asked to remain in your car and call the office to notify staff of your arrival to help eliminate lobby wait time.

Enhanced Cleaning

We’ve implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, especially in high-contact surface areas such as lobby, restrooms and patient areas.

Telehealth Options

In addition to resuming face-to-face appointments for new and established patients, we’ll continue telehealth appointments. This allows you to video chat with your medical provider over your smart phone, tablet, or computer from the comfort and safety of your home. Ask your provider about telehealth appointments.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Now that there is community spread, you do NOT need a travel history to be at risk for acquiring COVID-19.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and can include:

· Fever

· Dry cough

· Shortness of breath

· Fatigue

The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. The elderly (over 60), and others who have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease may be at higher risk of serious illness.

What If You Have Symptoms or Have Been Exposed to Someone with COVID-19?

· Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing.

· Stay home except to get medical care. If you have mild illness, isolate at home. Avoid public areas and public transportation.

· Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.

· Call ahead before visiting your doctor. This will help the office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

· Cover your coughs and sneezes.

· Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, you may use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

· Avoid sharing personal household items such as glasses, eating utensils, towels and bedding. Wash thoroughly after use with soap and water.

· Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day, such as counters, door knobs, phones, tabletops, and bathroom fixtures.

· Monitor your symptoms. Seek medical attention if your illness is worsening (such as difficulty breathing).

· Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

· Stay at home until your healthcare provider tells you the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.

 

A Note to Our Higher Risk Patients

As the virus continues to spread, we want to protect and safeguard our most vulnerable patients – the elderly, people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. This includes patients with cancer, organ transplants, immune deficiency, and those on medications that suppress their immune system.

Elderly and higher-risk patients should consider changing any routine, non-urgent medical or lab appointments to a later date.

Potential Disruptions to Our Regular Schedule

· Depending on community trends with COVID-19, we may reduce patient load or close the office with short notice.

· We will notify you if it is necessary to temporarily close the office.

 

How is our staff being trained?

Our staff has been trained in infection control practices, standard precautions, and hand hygiene.

 

How are we monitoring the situation?

As the situation evolves, we are keeping up with and following the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, state and local health departments.

 

How are we preparing for COVID-19?

· Our primary duty is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our patients and staff by preventing the spread of the infection at our office.

· We are continuously monitoring, reviewing and improving our response as the situation evolves.

· We are keeping all employees updated with any new recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

· We are requiring sick employees to stay home.

· We are increasing awareness of all of our staff to be alert for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

· Our practice employs proper environmental cleaning techniques.

· We are practicing safe hand hygiene in our office.

· We are proactively alerting patients who are ill, exposed to COVID-19 or those who have recently visited high-risk countries to reschedule appointments.

 

Practice Everyday Prevention

As you touch people, surfaces, and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. CDC and WHO recommend following the standard precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses:

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

· Stay home when you are sick.

· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or into your elbow (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash, then wash your hands.

· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

· If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

· Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

· Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.

· Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch. Stay home from work, school, and public areas if you’re sick.

We will be updating this information as new details become available. You may also visit these websites for ongoing, updated information:

Camp Lowell Medical Specialists

· www.cdc.gov

· www.who.int

 

Sincerely,

 

Camp Lowell Medical Specialists

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