Since we stopped normal business in mid-March, most people have stayed home for fear of the virus, other concerns like employment, or fear of burdening the health care system. Many of you who have come to our office in the past might have seen a number of people in the waiting room - this has all changed. I do not think there has been a time when there was more than one or two in the waiting room in the past six weeks!
We want everyone to know that not once has there been a patient, caregiver or other person who came to the Hudson ENT office (Red Hook NY) who was known to have the SARS-COV-2 infection. We are now and have always been a COVID-free practice. With your help and diligence, we will keep it that way. We had a couple of persons of interest for the virus who tested NEGATIVE and we had one telemedicine person who was seen virtually who was positive. She was never physically in the office and Dr. Kortbus was able to help her through the situation by telemedicine alone.
We have screened every patient and will continue to do so. Our rooms are sprayed and wiped between every patient and time is given to the room for air exchange. We have invested in negative pressure filter systems that will clean the air in the exam room after each patient visit. Hudson ENT continues to practice with STRINGENT precautions to protect you and our staff.
We have been able to PIVOT nicely during this difficult time, and have kept our staff employed. We have implemented telemedicine and plan to continue it for the foreseeable future – it makes very good sense for many. But now we will return to in-office visits and encourage our patients to feel secure in making an appointment.
The current situation: If you have any of the following symptoms -
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
Blue toes or fingers
-you should consider obtaining a SARS-CoV-2 (aka coronavirus) test from the primary care provider. If you do not have one, let us know via phone call or email and we will facilitate this, likely through telemedicine.
The opening of our business was based on many factors, but most especially that our government supports it at the federal and state level. Our professional societies support it. And our colleagues in otolaryngology located in much higher saturated areas (i.e. to the south of us in metro-New York City) have already opened for business. We will not call this business as usual, since that has the connotation that we are doing everything like it was February 2020. This is NOT a fact – it might never return to business as usual. We simply do not yet know how or when we will relax these very important steps to make you stay healthy. We can accommodate you with parking lot waiting in your car and can then email, call or text you, should you prefer to wait in the comfort of your vehicle. 5 things – If you “do the five” which are on the CDC website, you will drastically reduce your chances of getting any virus, let alone the coronavirus. It makes sense, and maybe most people will be more mindful of these hygienic steps for the remainder of their lives. This way, we will all be healthier!
Here is a reminder of “the five”
Clean your hands often
Wear a facial covering
Keep social distance with your body and your breath
Cover coughs and sneezes [inside the elbow]
Disinfect commonly touched surfaces
We expect you to come with cloth face like a snug bandana or better (i.e. Surgical or N-95 masks). There may come a time when PPE (personal protective equipment) is abundant and we can provide that but unfortunately it remains in limited supply as of this writing. WE CAN NOT OFFER YOU A MASK.
Temperature checks for screening will be done for you and anyone who comes beyond the check in counter. All people will get and have gotten temperature checked since mid-March before entering beyond the waiting room – employees, delivery people, patients, grandmas, etc.
We prefer you DO NOT COME WITH SOMEONE ELSE at this time, unless of course the patient is a child or unable to care for themselves in one way or the other. Usually we love accommodating spouses and multiple children, but this is not that time. We humbly request that you do not bring in anyone but the child who is the patient, for example, and not both parents. Likewise, please do not bring your spouse for now unless otherwise requested by one of our providers before your visit.
We will have an appropriate social distance in terms of time and space – we are booking a limited number of patients across time to give the air system to purify. And we are spacing out our chairs in the waiting room, which will be properly spaced out as well. We are even removing the magazines and other “touchable” things! Can you believe it – it took a pandemic to get rid of paper magazines from doctor’s waiting rooms 😊
Remember- be kind and consider telemedicine if you or the patient you are arranging for has symptoms!
We are going to give special considerations to our senior population – those over 65 years of age will come in early. People should be aware that those who smoke tobacco or marijuana; those who have a body mass index more than 30 (BMI>30); those with underlying diabetes or immunosuppression; end-organ diseases such as dementia, liver failure, kidney / renal disease such as using dialysis or cardiac conditions - even hypertension (high blood pressure) and those with lung problems are some of the more common groups of people who are at increased risk of having severe disease if infected.
Staff and providers are wearing N95 masks as well, to protect you and to protect us. Temperatures are checked and hands are washed and covered with gloves if they touch you. Elbow bumps are jazz hands have replaced the usual and customary hand shake!
We are here for you and committed to providing care in the safest environment possible. As we work together to navigate the ‘new normal’, Hudson ENT will provide similar updates. Please call our office with any questions and concerns or email email@example.com.
Dr. Kortbus and the Staff of Hudson ENT