Dear Carolina Ophthalmology Patients,
Effective 5/4/20, all of our offices will be open for normal business hours in order to care for patients. We are also beginning to schedule elective surgical cases again in cooperation with the local hospitals. Unfortunately, coronavirus is still around and we want to let you know how our offices are continuing to respond to the current COVID-19 situation.
PROTECTING OUR PATIENTS
Carolina Ophthalmology is committed to safeguarding the health of our patients, staff and the public. In an effort to protect our patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following measures have been implemented. We are currently utilizing the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to help us navigate through this unprecedented outbreak.
We have begun screening all patients with a series of questions prior to their appointment. 1) If you are currently suffering from a fever or any upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms such as cough or sore throat, please do not come to our office, as we will be unable to see you unless you have received clearance from your primary care physician indicating those symptoms are not related to the coronavirus. 2) If any of your family members or close contacts currently have or have recently had a fever or any flu-like or upper respiratory symptoms, such as cough or sore throat, we ask that you self-quarantine for 14 days from your last contact before visiting our office. 3) If you have traveled outside of the United States or to any known outbreak areas in the last 14 days, we will be unable to see you before the conclusion of a 14 day self-quarantine period. This includes any hot spots within the United States as designated on the CDC website.
FURTHER MEASURES TO PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
We require that all patients MUST wear a mask or other face covering, that covers the nose and mouth, in order to be seen. Please wear a mask to your appointment, if you have one available. If you do not have a mask or other face covering, we will attempt to make cloth or surgical masks available at the front desk for a nominal charge, but we cannot guarantee availability due to current shortages.
We have implemented a phone triage system whereby patients will check-in by phone, if possible, by calling the office to let us know of your arrival in our parking lot. Once you have notified us of your arrival, patients should wait in their cars for further instructions. Our staff will prepare for your visit and call you when we are ready to take you directly to an exam room to be seen. If you do not have a cell phone you will be allowed to wait in our waiting rooms, but we request that you practice social distancing and remain at least six feet apart from any other patients that may be present in the waiting area.
If you are scheduled for an appointment, please do not arrive more than 15 minutes early to your visit, as we will not be able to accommodate early check-in. If you need to bring someone along to your visit, please bring only one caregiver or additional person with you to your appointment.
Patients will have their temperatures screened upon arrival. Any patient with a temperature 100.5 or higher will need to be rescheduled. As further assurance of our efforts to protect you, we are also screening all of our staff and doctors for temperatures before the start of every shift.
In addition to our normal infection control protocols, we are taking additional measures to clean rooms in between patient visits. We are implementing additional measures to sterilize certain areas and some equipment such as the use of UV lights and air purifiers with HEPA filters. We are limiting the movement of patients in our office and isolating patients to one room when possible. We have suspended our coffee service and removed our magazines from all waiting areas. Unfortunately, we will not be able to shake your hand during the visit, but rest assured we are grateful to have you as our patient!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
First and foremost, wear your mask! Remain calm and have patience as we work in an ever evolving “new normal” for offering care right now! If you are having any symptoms of a flu-like illness, including fever, cough or sore throat, we ask that you consider seeing your primary care physician for a diagnosis and for your peace of mind; and by all means, stay home until you have either been cleared from a diagnosis of COVID-19 or until you are fully recovered.
Beyond this we need to take care of ourselves and each other by practicing the guidelines of the CDC for good hygiene, social distancing and infection control. Below is a link from the CDC website that may help you with some tips for taking care of yourself and others during this challenging time:
Thank you for your patience and support as we work together to not only protect ourselves from coronavirus, but to ensure that you are getting your needs met regarding your eye care. Please check back periodically on our website or social media for more information on our response as well as information you can use to stay healthy!
The Doctors and Staff of Carolina Ophthalmology