Posted by Dr. Thomas Horowitz

Visiting your primary care physician or getting your routine health exam — a visit to the doctor’s office will now be different due to COVID-19. As hospitals and primary care clinics gradually reopen for all patients, they have implemented new procedures and stringent safety measures to protect patients and health care professionals.

Here are a few tips to help you plan your visit:

  • Wearing a mask is non-negotiable. As the ‘Safer at Home’ restrictions are loosened, we must not get complacent. Any exposure has risk and we must mediate it as best we can. By wearing a mask, you can protect yourself and others around you. Moreover, it also helps you avoid touching your face.
  • Social distancing is still important. As the virus can remain airborne for several minutes, you must keep a distance of at least six feet from others. The space varies depending on the air circulation in the room. In a small area with poor air flow, you must spend minimal time and keep greater distance from others. Another variable is humidity. If the air is moist, the virus will be infectious in the air for longer time period.
  • You may be asked to fill out questionnaires and forward copies of your medical documents – things that you did in the waiting room before. Your insurance information and copies of cards may need to be scanned and sent to the doctor’s office before your visit. You may also be asked to fill out questionnaires regarding your medical history.
  • There may be a screening call to better understand and plan your medical needs before the appointment time is confirmed.
  • Medical offices and hospitals may continue to restrict visitors. To avoid crowding and limit the spread, your doctor’s office may request that you do not bring any unnecessary visitors with you during the appointment.

With safety first as the goal, these measures may feel different, but you can rest assured that medical offices and hospitals are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
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