by Sarah H. Krauss, MD, FACOG
The uncertainty of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, makes it more important than ever for us all to stay connected, even while practicing social distancing.
We at Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida are committed to providing safe obstetrics and gynecologic care while diligently limiting the spread of COVID-19. The health and well-being of our patients and our staff is our top priority.
We are open and are ready to care for you when you need us. And we are excited to announce that we now offer telehealth visits!
For many common issues, you can have your appointment from the comfort of your own home. We can connect using Skype for Business for a real-time video chat on your phone, laptop, or tablet. We are happy to discuss topics such as your menopausal symptoms, birth control options, ultrasound results, treatment options for irregular bleeding, and much more via telehealth. Although some problems may require you to come in for a physical exam, we encourage you to call our office to see if your concerns may be appropriate for a telehealth visit.
Because the novel coronavirus is so new, we have a lot of unanswered questions regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy.
I recommend that all women follow the bulletins on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov and that pregnant and breastfeeding women also follow the CDC page on pregnancy and breastfeeding, as the information we have is changing. Pregnant women do experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. In viruses from the same family of COVID-19, pregnant women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. Pregnant women should follow the same practices as everyone else to protect themselves from getting sick, such as vigilant hand washing and sanitizing and having good social distancing practices.
We at Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida are prepared to keep you safe at your scheduled visits to our office.
In our offices, we are enforcing CDC guidelines and following their recommendations. Preventing the spread of disease has always been a priority of ours, so it was easy for us to adhere to CDC guidelines to reduce the risk of infection, including thorough disinfection of public surfaces and proper hygiene practices. Those are things we have always done.
We have also incorporated changes in our daily practice. To limit crowding in our waiting areas and exam rooms, we ask that our patients come to appointments alone unless they need someone to accompany them for medical necessity. The exception would be patients under the age of 18, who still should be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
In addition, we are screening people prior to entering our buildings to limit possible exposures.
We have followed the CDC recommendations to cancel routine annual visits and non-emergent surgeries.
This allows more patients to comply with the recommendations to “slow the spread” and stay home unless absolutely necessary while helping us conserve the limited supplies of personal protective equipment available at the hospital. We realize the delay may cause anxiety for some, and we are happy to reschedule appointments to ensure we will see you in a timely fashion once the CDC lifts the restrictions. If you have questions regarding your cancelled appointment or surgery, please do not hesitate to call us.
We would appreciate it if you would wear a mask when coming into our office.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face covers in settings where it's difficult to maintain 6 feet of separation. In our offices, during your interaction with various staff members, you may be less than 6 feet from others, such as when you are getting your blood pressure checked or being examined.
The goal is to slow the spread of coronavirus and prevent people who have it and don't know it from transmitting it to others.
Cloth face coverings made at home from common articles at low cast can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. However, they should not be placed on children under age 2 or on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the maks without assistance.
Dr. Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General, has made a YouTube video on how to make your own cloth face mask, and the CDC offers guidance and instructions as well.
We realize patients near their due date may have additional concerns.
In our hospitals, we are supportive of the protocols that Lee Health has set. At Cape Coral Hospital and Healthpark Hospital, all laboring patients will be allowed one consistent support person throughout their stay. And of course, we will be providing the same high-quality obstetrical care as ever. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us.
We are all in this together, and we are here for you always.
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