Letter to Our Patients on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness
We understand the growing concern surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the cities and communities we serve. The health and safety of our patients, physicians, and staff is our top priority. WestGlen GI Consultants has been actively preparing its offices, physicians, and employees to identify possible patients with the COVID-19 virus and to prevent transmission to themselves, other patients, and visitors. We have also created a Clinical Response Team to review our response as the situation evolves.
Based on current CDC Guidelines and our standards and practices, we remain open and ready to provide exceptional patient care experiences.
Patients with Upcoming Appointments
Currently, we are permitting only one caregiver to accompany patients to our locations. If you have traveled internationally (Asia, Europe, etc.) or nationally in Washington State, New York or other high-risk areas, traveled on any cruise ship, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, we MUST reschedule your appointment for a future date. These appointments include any elective office visits and elective endoscopic procedures.
- Shortness of breath
Please call the office and our staff will reschedule your appointment. We will be screening every patient at check in to identify and limit potential exposure to COVID-19 in our clinics.
A Note to Our Higher Risk Patients
As the virus continues to spread, we want to protect and safeguard our most vulnerable patients – the elderly, people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. This includes patients with cancer, organ transplant, immune deficiency, and those on some medications that suppress their immune system. Therefore, the Elderly and other higher-risk patients should consider changing any routine, non-urgent visits to a later date. These high-risk patients should avoid gatherings of more than 50 people, movie theaters, restaurants and any non-essential travel.
Potential Disruptions to Our Regular Schedule
- Depending on community trends with COVID-19, offices may reduce patient load or close with short notice.
- We will notify you if it is necessary to temporarily close an office.
- For regular updates, visit www.westglengi.com
How is our staff being trained?
Our staff has been trained in infection control practices, standard precautions, and hand hygiene.
How is WestGlen GI monitoring the situation?
As the situation evolves, we are keeping up with and following the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, state and local health departments.
How is WestGlen GI preparing for COVID-19?
- Our primary duty is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our patients and staff by preventing the spread of the infection at our offices.
- We are continuously monitoring, reviewing and improving our response as the situation evolves.
- We are keeping all employees updated with any new recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- We are encouraging sick employees to stay home.
- We are increasing awareness of all our staff to be alert for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Our practices employ proper environmental cleaning techniques.
- We are practicing safe hand hygiene in all our clinics.
- We are proactively alerting patients who are ill, exposed to COVID-19 or those who have recently visited high-risk countries to reschedule appointments.
- Employees who travel to areas identified by the CDC with a “Level 2-3 Travel Health Notice, as well as any cruise ship trips will be required to voluntarily extend their time away from work by an additional 14 days for home self-monitoring.
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and can include:
- Dry Cough
- Shortness of breath
The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. The elderly (over 60), and others who have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is like what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.
Practice Everyday Prevention
As you touch people, surfaces, and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. CDC and WHO recommend following the standard precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch. Stay home from work, school, and public areas if you’re sick.
We will be updating this information as new details become available. If you have questions or concerns about this information, please reach out to the office manager.