If you are reading this I know you probably have concerns about Coronavirus and how it may affect your family. I understand and want you to know we are here for you and will be here to help take care of you. We are ready. We have prepared. Our clinic has three separate ventilation systems and two separate water systems. We are able to divide our clinic and isolate parts of it from our main exam area. We have already implemented practices to help protect you and our employees from catching anything serious.
First of all know this. The vast majority of people who get Coronavirus will get sick and then will get better. People with respiratory or cardiac conditions have a higher chance of getting sick.
Unlike the flu, we have no treatment or vaccine. Because of this, our staff must take precautions to protect ourselves and protect other patients from getting sick. So if you are sick, here are some things you need to know before you come in:
Before You Drive Here
It might not be a bad idea to call us first. We would like to ask you some questions about your illness. If we think you are suspicious for Coronavirus, depending on how sick you are, we will arrange to bring you in through a separate entrance. We do not want to risk infecting other people needlessly. If we ask you questions, this is not the time to lie because you think it will make it easier for you. There are others you could hurt or affect! So we want you to answer our questions with honesty or we will direct you elsewhere. If you cannot be honest with us and you risk the health of our patients or employees, we suggest you find treatment at the emergency room or another facility.
When You Arrive
No matter what you are coming in for whether it’s a broken bone or a sore throat, we want people to feel safe about their health. During the Coronavirus outbreak, to reduce the risk of spreading germs, we may ask you to wait in your car until we are ready to move you directly into an exam room. If you would feel more comfortable you can also simply request to wait in your car. Your place in line will not be lost. By keeping patients from congregating in our 2 waiting rooms, it will reduce any potential risk to you. If you choose to wait in your car, we will call you when it’s your turn. But, you must check-in upon arrival first so we know you are here.
When We Check You In
You will notice we are wearing gowns, gloves, masks, and face protection. We may also ask you to wear a mask and gloves. In all probability you have something simple going on and do not have the Coronavirus. The problem is we have to protect our staff. If we are exposed without personal protection, we will have to send home our staff for two weeks of quarantine. Since we do not have an unlimited supply of staff members or providers, we have made a decision to be cautious, conservative, and proactive. This approach will allow us to continue helping people like you without disrupting our operations.
During a time of increasing public fear I need to talk to parents briefly. First, please know that if children get Coronavirus, they are far more likely to have symptoms similar to just a mild cold. So, please do not let fear get the better of you. However, if your child is sick, we are here for you. To prepare to bring a child into our clinic, please remember we will be in masks and face shields. This appearance might frighten a small child; so it is vitally important that you explain to your child what we may look like so they are not surprised or caught off guard. You can explain that we’ll be in funny looking costumes if that helps. Lastly, these times can often tug on the heart strings of a parent and make you feel on edge. If this is the case, consider bringing an additional parent or adult friend to help you help us. We’re all in this together to help as many as we can.
How You Can Help Us
In all probability we will be backed up and will need your patience and respect. Because we cannot afford to make any mistakes, we will be moving at a methodical speed. Our desire is to make sure you get taken care of, treated, and most importantly get better with whatever brings you in. So please allow us your kindness if we are moving a little slower. We are probably dealing with other stressful situations and a little patience will go a long way.
Information for you
To help you know more about Coronavirus, I have assembled the latest from the CDC for you to read if you want. It is a different collection of articles for healthcare workers, patients like you, but also first responders because they are out risking their lives for us.
We will get though this. When I worked with the State of Nebraska in EMS, I worked with public health officials in developing Ebola policies as well as policies for the H1N1 outbreak. We have seen things like this before and we all will get through this.
Don Rice, M.D.
President, Urgent Care Clinic of Lincoln
Overview of COVID-19 for Fire/EMS Agencies and PSAPs:
- Interim Guidance for EMS Agencies and 911 Public Safety Answering Points (CDC)
- COVID-19 Overview for EMS Agencies (NHTSA Webinar)
- COVID-19 Situation Overview (CDC)
- COVID-19 GIS Hub (Esri Public Health)
- Interim Guidance for Healthcare Providers (CDC)
- Healthcare Planning Checklist for COVID-19 (HHS)
- Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19(CDC)
Recommendations on PPE Selection and Infection Control:
- Guide to Selecting, Donning, and Doffing PPE for Coronavirus (NETEC)
- Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators (CDC)
- Healthcare Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (CDC)
- Infection Control for Suspected COVID-19 Patients (WHO)
Recommendations on Maintaining Operations