We will make changes to our policies regarding allergy shots and office visits in light of Governor Wolf's attempts to "flatten the curve" of the COVID-19 (novel Corona virus) outbreak. Though most cases are mild some are severe, more so in the elderly and in individuals with chronic disease - significant asthma, diabetes, COPD, cancer under treatment, heart failure / angina, etc. Some locations - e.g., Italy, Spain - have been unable to provide adequate healthcare because the number of severely ill patients exceeded the capacity for treatment (number of ICU beds, respirators, intensive care staff, etc.). As there is no specific prevention or treatment the public health strategy is to "flatten the curve" and avoid a huge number of infections all at once. That requires everyone to be considerate of others. Though there are no known cases in Berks County as of 3/17/20 reports, the virus will undoubtedly arrive at some point, so we will implement sustainable measures to protect patients and our staff.
Office hours will remain unchanged. These new measures will be in place by Monday, 3/23/20 and will continue as long as needed:
- Please do not come to the office if you have a fever with respiratory symptoms like cough or chest tightness. Instead, please call to reschedule. If you are not sure, call before coming.
- Patients must come alone except for minors or physically impaired individuals who require a caregiver or those who need a translator.
- All patients & caregivers will have their temperature taken prior to being seen. Those with temperature elevation will be asked to come back another time.
- If you must cough please do so into your elbow. This will minimize aerosol droplet spread and will avoid contaminating one's hands with virus.
- For shot patients over age 64, particularly those with chronic health conditions such as asthma requiring daily medication, heart failure, angina, COPD requiring daily medication, cancer under active treatment or diabetes which is either not well controlled or requires insulin or is complicated by neuropathy or kidney disease, we encourage you to come on Tuesdays when exam rooms are vacant. We will place you in an exam room or other isolated seating for the 20 minute observation period for your safety. At this time we are not requiring appointments. Shot hours on Tuesday are 10AM - 2PM.
- Waiting room seating will be reduced for better spacing.
- Patients coming for office visits will be asked to call the office when they arrive in the parking lot. Please wait in your car. We will call you when an exam room is becoming available. Please check in at the front desk promptly after such notification.
- Waiting room chairs and exam room contact surfaces will be sanitized at regular intervals.
- Reading materials and toys will no longer be available.
- We may have to consider limiting the number of shot patients per hour or in the waiting area at one time, but this will depend on future events.
Like everyone else we are still working through this situation. Please call with questions or suggestions.
We thank you for your attention and cooperation with these temporary measures directed at saving lives!