We are committed to providing you with a caring and loving experience while keeping everyone safe. This goes beyond you and us – it’s a matter of protecting our community as a whole, and especially our most vulnerable populations.
Our practices continue to evolve in response to 1) fluctuating levels of COVID transmission on Oahu and 2) advancements in scientific understanding of how COVID is spread. As new information is available, you can expect our response to change.
Here’s what we currently know:
- SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID19, is mainly spread through the air in two ways. The first and most common way is “droplet” transmission, which face coverings greatly reduce. The second is aerosol transmission, mainly when the virus lingers in the air in poorly ventilated spaces.
- Asymptomatic carriers of the virus are common, so even people who are feeling well may be unaware they are infected and contagious
- SARS-CoV-2 is not commonly spread through contact with infected surfaces, although it is possible.
- Not all face coverings are equally effective. Bandanas and balaclavas do little to halt virus spread. Masks with valves protect the wearer, but not the people around them if they themselves are infected. Both the mouth and the nose must be covered to prevent virus transmission.
- It is safer to meet in small groups and to mix households as little as possible.
- Ventilation matters! Outdoors is best; indoor environments can be made safer by increasing air circulation by opening windows, turning on fans, etc. The larger the room, the better.
- The duration of the interaction also matters. Shorter is better.
Please keep in mind that while you may be healthy and sticking to social distancing guidelines overall, our doctor visits dozens of households every month. This makes our adherence to good public health strategies at every visit crucial to protecting our more vulnerable clients.
What we are currently requiring:
- We must stick to the current legal limits on the size of gatherings as set forth in the City and County’s reopening strategy. At the time of this writing, that is ten people (including the doctor). There must be adequate room to maintain social distancing (i.e. several people should not be crammed into a small room or tight space).
- We cannot visit your home if anyone present or residing in the home is currently under quarantine due to a COVID19 diagnosis or exposure to someone positive for SARS-CoV-2; is experiencing unexplained fever, cough, or shortness of breath; or is awaiting the result of a COVID19 test.
- Face coverings must be worn at all times during the visit unless the doctor directs otherwise (e.g. if she is able to distance herself enough to ensure safety).
In addition to the above we strongly recommend:
- Host appointments outdoors whenever possible.
- If a safe and appropriate outdoor space is not available, please use the biggest room possible, open windows, and use fans to increase air circulation as much as you can. We can also explore alternatives such as the beach or a park, and accommodations for pets who may be nervous outdoors.
- Think carefully about involving loved ones from different households. An alternative to being present in person could be a video conferencing tool. We can provide the equipment for a Zoom meet wtih advance notice.
- Children are welcome to attend if they will wear a mask and an adult is present to ensure they adhere to proper social distancing as described above.
- We will provide opportunities to complete paperwork and payment virtually in advance of your appointment and encourage you to take advantage of them.
- Minimizing the amount of talking during the appointment is the safest. When you schedule, you will receive a confirmation email with detailed information about what to expect – we suggest you read and watch these materials before your appointment and get answers to your questions before the doctor arrives.
- For more suggestions we recommend this easy to use, interactive risk assessment tool developed by the Center for Digital Health.
What you can expect from us
- Our team is practicing social distancing and working from home when feasible, and any team members who develop symptoms (or residing with someone who has symptoms) will not be allowed to come into contact with clients.
- As we are working from home and sharing our “workplace” with our own family members, we appreciate your patience if it takes a little longer to respond to messages. We will get back to you the same day if you contact us during business hours.
- If you want us to use more restrictive procedures (greater social distancing, for example), we are happy to do what you need to feel comfortable.
- If the county drops back to Tier One of the COVID reopening plan, we will require appointments be held outdoors until we return to Tier Two or higher.
- We do not plan on shutting down if stay-at-home orders are reissued; however, due to our doctor’s family and caregiving responsibilities, we anticipate availability for appointments to be extremely limited in this circumstance and wait times may be long.
Tips to make your experience better
- For outdoor appointments, find a sheltered spot under a tree, a covered lanai, or carport.
- If you do not have a suitable place in your own yard or around your home, would another location such as a park or other public space work?
- If your pet is nervous outdoors (common in cats!) or you are worried about restraining them safely, our doctor can administer the initial sedatives inside, then you can move outside when your loved one is sufficiently relaxed.
- Flies and other annoying insects can be discourged by increasing air circulation – a portable fan is perfect (our doctor carries one if you don’t have one).
- Consider the temperature and noise level in your neighborhood at various times of day when scheduling. Evening appointments are limited and may require more advance planning.
- Loved ones who cannot attend in person may be able to connect via video call – we can facilitate this with advance notice.
We appreciate you helping to keep Oahu healthy and safe!