Our practice is committed to mutual community wellness. As of the morning of Friday, March 13, 2020 there are two confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Austin. We are closely monitoring the situation and following directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
As a medical office dedicated to the safest care for our patients, and given that some of our patients are immunocompromised, please do the following:
- Check your temperature before you come to our office. Fever is usually the first symptom of COVID-19.
- If you have a fever or a sick contact, please call our office. We will arrange for your appointment via telemedicine (phone or video call), or reschedule.
- If you prefer to stay home for non-essential appointments, such as pre-operative visits or simple wound checks, we can accommodate you via telemedicine (phone or video call). Please call our office to arrange this.
The following is information on symptoms, risk, what you can do to minimize your risk, and our office’s plan to continue to care for our patients, safely.
COVID-19 Symptoms to Look For
COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Dry cough (not wet, mucus-producing cough)
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
COVID-19 symptoms do not include:
- Gastrointestinal issues/diarrhea
- Runny nose
Who is at Greatest Risk of Requiring Hospitalization from COVID-19?
Patients who may be concerned about developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 that require hospitalization include:
- Older people (age 60+)
- Immunocompromised patients, such as those in treatment for cancer
- People of all ages with severe underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes
For most people, COVID-19 symptoms will not necessitate hospitalization. Children in particular seem to be experiencing the mildest symptoms when they contract it. School closures are taking place to limit the spread of the disease to those who will need hospitalization if they contract it, in an effort to not overwhelm the healthcare system.
What You Can Do to Minimize Your Risk
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. According to the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or be inhaled into the lungs. The virus can also survive on surfaces (countertops, door handles, faucets, etc.).
Take these steps to protect yourself:
- Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or with hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaced daily, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets, etc.
Special note on facemasks:
- If you are NOT sick, you DO NOT need to wear a facemask. Wearing one is not an effective way to prevent you from contracting COVID-19.
- If you are sick, you should wear a facemask when you are around other people (sharing a room or vehicle, for example) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (because it causes trouble breathing, for example), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
Our Office’s Plan
Our office is remaining open, with in-office appointments continuing as scheduled. Surgeries scheduled at the hospitals (breast reconstruction) and at our in-office surgery center (elective cosmetic surgery) are also continuing as scheduled.
We are monitoring the health of our providers and office staff daily to ensure a healthy environment.
Please call our office before your appointment if:
- You exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, or
- You are a patient concerned about possible exposure
Symptoms usually begin with a fever. Please take your temperature before coming to our office for your appointment.
If you have an elevated temperature but need to be seen for a post-surgical appointment, or are a patient concerned about possible exposure, please call our office. We are able to schedule phone and video appointments for post-surgical patients who do not need to be seen in person and need to remain home due to concerns of COVID-19.
See the contact information below for elective cosmetic surgery, breast reconstruction, and medspa patients. Do not hesitate to be in touch with us for any questions or concerns.
Elective cosmetic surgery patients:
Julie Culin, Cosmetic Patient Care Coordinator
Breast reconstruction patients:
Claire Spera, Reconstructive Patient Care Coordinator
Please speak with reception at (512) 815-0123, option 0
Christine Fisher MD