COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan
We should conduct all services by “curbside” medicine to the fullest extent possible, such as:
- If an appointment is scheduled, the employee speaking with the client on the phone will ask them to stay in their car with their pet and phone the clinic when they arrive.
- When the client arrives for service, they will park at one of our numbered parking spaces, and follow the instructions on the sign to check in.
- When it is time for the appointment to begin, an LVT/assistant will then call the client and take a history over the phone, including asking the question if the pet has been exposed to COVID-19.
- After all pertinent information is taken per phone, the LVT/assistant will go outside to collect the patient and bring them inside the clinic for service. The LVT/assistant will ask the client to set the carrier outside on the ground a few feet away from their vehicle. If it is a dog on a leash, we will use our own slip lead, place it on the dog, and bring it into the clinic. Clients should wear cloth face coverings whenever employees are approaching their vehicles. All this is to be done while keeping 6 feet away from any clients in the car. If a dog is aggressive and cannot be handled by any of our staff, we will not be able to bring the dog into the clinic.
- After the patient is in the clinic with the client waiting in their vehicle, the veterinarian will review the history with the LVT/assistant, then examine the pet. After the examination is completed, the veterinarian will call the client from inside the clinic and go over any exam findings, recommended diagnostics, or treatments. At that time they should discuss costs of said diagnostics, treatments, etc.
- After the above is performed, the veterinarian may call the client to discuss any results and further diagnostics or treatments. If a second veterinarian phone call is not necessary, the assistant will call the client and go over any medications or treatments. After that, either the LVT/assistant who is already speaking to the client will collect payment via phone, or the receptionist will collect payment via phone.
- The LVT/receptionist will then take the animal outside- if in a carrier they will set it down a few feet from the client’s vehicle and let them put it in the car. If the client is disabled or has any mobility problems, the carrier can be set in the vehicle while maintaining appropriate social distancing. If it is a dog on a leash, they can put it in the car, while maintaining social distancing from the client.
We will continue to offer curbside medicine indefinitely to anyone who requests it or would feel more comfortable staying outside while their pet comes inside, and we will continue to have curbside pick up for prescriptions/food, trims, as we have previously been doing.
We will reintroduce in-person appointments as it makes sense to do, following local and state guidelines.
- To start, each day, one veterinarian will be available for in-clinic visits. Clients scheduled under that vet will have the choice between curbside service and a new modified in-person visit.
- Modified in-person visits must be informed of and agree to the following protocol:
- One owner (who is free of any symptoms of COVID-19) may enter the building with their pet for the appointment. Groups may either send one person in with the pet or have a curbside service appointment (parents with children will need to do a curbside appointment).
- We will require that anyone entering the building wear a face mask (not a bandana or gaiter) that covers their nose and mouth, which must remain on the entire time they are in the building. If they do not have one, we can provide them with one. If a client cannot wear a mask for any reason, the appointment will be conducted via curbside service.
- We will conduct a brief health screening when checking in for the appointment that will include the client’s temperature being taken via a contactless thermometer. If they do not “pass” the health screening on the day of the appointment, they will be asked to reschedule the appointment.
3. New clients (or existing clients bringing in new patients) should also be asked to complete an online registration form prior to their appointment.
4. When a client arrives for their in-clinic appointment, they will call or text the clinic from their vehicle. The receptionist will then conduct the health screening (over phone or text).
5. The receptionist (or assistant) will then ask the client to meet us at the front door. The receptionist will take the client’s temperature and escort the client and patient directly into an exam room, where the client will be seated at a marked space. Clients should be informed that they are to stay at marked spaces for the duration of the visit. Clients should also be informed that we will open all doors, etc while they are in the building and asked to not touch any surfaces.
- If there is no open exam room/waiting room area, we will ask the client to remain in their vehicle and that we will call or text as soon as we are ready.
6. Once the client and pet are in the exam room, the assistant/LVT will take a history while maintaining proper social distancing. After the history is complete, the pet will remain in the room while the assistant/LVT updates the doctor. The doctor will then come into the room to conduct their exam and discuss findings, treatment plans, meds, etc. Doctors will limit prolonged close contact with clients.
7. When the appointment is complete, the assistant/LVT will collect payment. Credit cards can be taken to the terminals and processed, cash and checks can be taken to reception.
8. The staff member that collects payment will then escort the client and patient out of the building.
9. The assistant/LVT, doctor, or kennel attendant will clean the exam room, making sure to sanitize the bench, backrest, and door handle (in addition to our regular cleaning/sanitation). If it is feasible to have a window open before, during, &/or after the visit, do so, being cautious not to have windows open when small animals can possibly escape.
10. During these procedures, we will maintain social distancing of 6 feet between staff and clients. We will have markers on the floor in certain places to demonstrate how to maintain the social distance (in reception and exam rooms) as necessary.
It is also important that we maintain social distancing from each other whenever possible.
If there is a telemedicine request and a veterinarian is not available to speak with the client immediately, a phone call reminder will be created and assigned to a specific veterinarian or CS. It is important that each veterinarian review callbacks assigned to them and CS before leaving the clinic.
When performing telemedicine with any services, the veterinarian can determine if and how to treat the animal without it being examined in person. That may be medications, home treatment advice, or whatever is deemed necessary by the veterinarian
If there are any medications to be picked up after performing telemedicine, a receptionist will call the client, collect payment, and instruct the client to stay in their vehicle and call upon arrival to the clinic. We can then set the medication outside the door of the clinic, on the ground a few feet away from their car, or if the person is disabled or has any difficulty with mobility a staff member can set it in their car, while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
If there are cases that can be handled by telemedicine, we will do so. For instance, if a dog with a history of ear infections is having similar clinical signs, we may be able to prescribe appropriate ear medication. Same with itchy skin, etc. This will be up to veterinarian’s discretion.
Face masks are required to be worn by all employees as well as anyone else entering the building. If any person does not have their own face mask one will be provided. Employees must wear a face mask when interacting with clients outdoors, while maintaining proper social distancing.
Employees will take their temperatures daily and complete a workplace screening log. By clocking in, it is a confirmation that the daily COVID-19 workplace health screening has been completed.
If an employee has:
- any symptoms of COVID-19,
- prolonged close contact (any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more) with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 before becoming fully vaccinated, or
- has tested positive for COVID-19
We are regularly disinfecting door knobs, telephones, exam tables, computers, floors and all other surfaces as possible. All common surfaces will receive a final disinfection at the end of each workday.
All staff must keep pets at a distance, when possible. This means we cannot be petting, sitting next to, hugging, or kissing pets when they are inside for medical treatment. This distancing does not apply to animals when they are being examined or restrained for procedures. We all need to wash hands for 20 seconds after handling any animal.
All staff must continue washing hands for at least 20 seconds, frequently, and after touching animals, equipment, door knobs, telephones, etc.
We must all follow this plan. An employee may report unsafe working conditions to a worksite supervisor or the practice manager.
The worksite supervisors are Kacie and Nick (or Derek or Wayne, if neither Kacie nor Nick are in the building).
This plan is subject to change, as recommendations and requirements are being updated in response to a changing environment with COVID-19.