Many practices have experienced potential or actual exposure to COVID-19 positive patients (whether confirmed, suspected/waiting for test results). According to the chart above, I feel that most podiatry practices would fall into the medium-risk exposure category. However, as the country “re-opens for business” we all need to remain diligent in pre-screening patients prior to their appointment, performing temperature checks upon arrival, limiting contact between patients and staffmembers (keeping as few patients in the waiting room as possible and wearing PPE during all clinic hours), asking patients to complete a COVID-19 screening form prior to treatment, and disinfecting all surfaces touched by patients immediately after their visit. Attached you will find a thorough screening form that can be filled out and signed by the patient (please edit as you wish).
The question is: What do we do when we treat a “cleared” patient on a Monday who calls on Wednesday to report that they were not feeling well after leaving the office and are now awaiting test results. Or, what if a patient fails to mention (until they are sitting in the treatment chair) that a family member in the same household recently tested positive.
The answers keep changing as we continue to learn more about COVID-19, how it spreads, exposure risk to asymptomatic individuals, etc. In the meantime, do your best to establish protocols in your practice for “when, not if” this happens to you (and continue to adapt/edit them as we learn more). Both OSHA and the CDC provide general guidance and it is advised to report the potential exposure to your local and state health departments and to monitor all potentially exposed staff members and doctors for symptoms for a period of between 3-14 days (this guidance varies as welearn more about incubation and contagion periods. See attached for state by state contact numbers) and click this link for a Directory of Local Health Departments:https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory
Also attached is a sample COVID-19 Exposure Report form to show what information will be required when reporting a potential or actual exposure.
Please continue to visit the CDC, OSHA, AMA and APMA websites frequently and I will do my best to keep you up to date as well. Stay safe!