How is everyone doing?
This is a scary time.
We recognize at You & Eye that there are many questions about what to do in the era of COVID-19. We have many of the same questions.
We want to assure you, our patients, and our friends, that we are staying up to date with best practices. We are reading a lot and we are thinking a lot.
We, as a practice, were founded with public health ideals in mind. This pandemic is challenging those ideals.
We believe that social distancing is a necessary public health component to fighting Covid-19.
Overwhelming our health system is the primary concern in this pandemic. If we all get sick at the same time and many of us need acute care in the hospital, there will not be enough personal protective equipment, medical equipment, medicines, doctors, and nurses to care for everyone. Even people who are not ill from COVID-19 may not be able to access needed care – heart attacks, strokes, and injuries will not be attended to as quickly as they should as many resources will be tied up treating this virus. If we physically isolate ourselves (but not emotionally, or socially – please take care of your mental health by staying in touch with family and friends via phone and internet) we slow the spread. We will not stop the spread, but we can slow it. This will allow the health system to survive.
Social distancing involves staying home (break out the board games!). If you stay home, you don’t come into You & Eye, though. And this is where the challenge to our public health ideals arises. We need to see patients pay our staff and our bills, but we want to “flatten the curve”.
We’ve decided to try to assist in flattening the curve while staying open to meet your eye care needs. We will do this by limiting the number of patients we see each day. We ask that those who are vulnerable (those over 65, those with lung disease, those with diabetes) hold off on scheduling appointments for routine care until we are on the downward side of this pandemic. Those who have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath should not be seen for routine eye care until asymptomatic. If you were exposed to someone with Covid-19 you should self-quarantine for two weeks and call your primary care provider. We will always be available for emergency care (red eye, flashes of light or floaters in your vision, injuries, etc.) for anyone at any time, but if you are vulnerable, please hold off on obtaining general, routine care.
For those who are less vulnerable, we will be scheduling one appointment per hour to limit your contact with others. We ask that you leave any friend or family who came with you in the car. We ask that minors be accompanied by only one guardian. We will continue to practice proper hygienic procedures including cleaning any eyeglass frames you try on, wiping down all patient contact areas, and frequent hand washing.
This plan is subject to change. If we are requested to close all routine care, we will. This is something that has happened in other jurisdictions, but for now, we are here, if you want to see us. We are happy if you make the decision to just stay home for now, however.
Take care of yourselves. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay in touch with others. Stay home as much as possible. Love life and others.
Nicole Pearce OD
Matt G. Pearce OD, DrPH, MPH, FAAO