Dear Patients of Great Lakes Eye Care,
We want to assure you that Great Lakes Eye Care is here to provide you with the highest quality of care as we continue to monitor reports of the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). During this time, our top priority is the health of our staff and patients.
Please see our policy below:
Great Lakes Eye Care COVID-19 Policy
March 18, 2021 edition
COVID-19 – What we Know:
- This virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. It can also remain on surfaces and be transmitted from hand to mucus membrane (nose, mouth, or eyes).
- Most patients have flu-like symptoms. There is some disease spread by people with minimal to no symptoms. Patients with more symptoms are likely more contagious.
- The average number of days from contact with the virus to onset of symptoms is 5.1 days.
- Older adults are at increased risk of requiring hospitalization and dying if diagnosed with COVID-19 (1100x 65-74 years, 2800x 75-84 years, and 7900x 85 plus years).
- We can slow the process with social distancing, washing hands often, and wearing a mask.
- Our services are vital to preserve vision.
- A vaccine is now available.
- To preserve and restore eyesight in our community. During this pandemic we want to help reduce the likelihood of our office being a vector for virus spread. We will balance patient volume with staff and patient safety, maintaining social distancing as much as we can with our job duties.
- Enable employees to work remotely from home if their job tasks allow them to do so.
- Wipe all surfaces (examples include the door handle, patient chair, and slit lamp) after each patient.
- Remove shared items around the office; coffee centers, patient refreshments, container of mydriatic glasses, multi-use lens cloths, toys, magazines, etc.
- Place an employee at the front door of each office to screen all patients and visitors. If a patient has any respiratory or flu-like symptoms, yet must be seen, the “COVID-19 suspect” protocol will be followed (see below).
- Require all GLEC staff and Doctors to check their temperature and complete the self-monitoring questionnaire at the front door or employee entrances.
- Space all chairs in the waiting room at least 6 feet apart.
- Disinfect all waiting room chairs after each use.
- Create multiple check in/out stations at the St. Joseph office to decrease patient congestion in one area.
- Practice social distancing rules (keeping a distance of 6 feet between staff member and patient or staff member and staff member) as much as possible.
- Staff will eat lunch outside the building in their cars or at isolated work stations if their job duties allow it. Tables will be spaced out in the employee break rooms.
- Patients are limited to one visitor/companion who is providing transportation to the patient receiving care. If the patient is capable of being alone, we will ask the visitor/companion to wait in the car.
- Place gel hand sanitizer dispensers at every workstation and by every employee entrance.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocol:
- All GLEC team members, regardless of position, will be required to wear a mask at all times when working, be it an N-95/KN-95 or a surgical mask.
- Consistent or wanton failure to adhere to these policies will result in GLEC disciplinary action, including but not limited to; verbal warning, written warning, suspension or termination of employment.
- Wearing a mask is not necessary if working in a segregated/secluded area or private office.
- All patients and necessary companions who are not wearing a mask or face covering when screened at the front door, will be given a surgical mask.
- Exceptions can be made for special situations; baseline shortness of breath, claustrophobia, mental status, or very young children are examples. Please ask the triage doctor (BPN or DNB) or safety officers if you have questions.
- Use proper hand hygiene (hand wash or sanitize) when putting on or taking off any mask.
- The outside of the mask must always be considered contaminated.
- Eye protection is available and encouraged for all clinical staff. Regular prescription glasses “count” as eye protection. If safety glasses are used, they should be sanitized at the end of the day.
COVID-19 suspect protocol:
- Upon entry, every patient and visitor will be asked to use the nearby hand sanitizer station and the following screening questions will be asked;
- Had a fever over 100 degrees in the last 24 hours?
- Do you have (new or different) shortness of breath?
- New onset of cough?
- Have you been diagnosed with COVID in the last 14 days?
- Temperature will be taken.
- If the answer to any of these questions are positive, or if the temperature reading is over 100, and they have need of immediate evaluation, they will be instructed to call (269) 428-3300 to speak with one of our clinical staff. After speaking with the patient, our triage doctor will determine appropriate treatment.
- Most patients will be asked to reschedule after 14 days from the day of cancellation.
- Exceptions could be made for; patients suspected of macula-on retina detachment, neovascular glaucoma, complications of recent surgery done by a GLEC surgeon, and other conditions deemed necessary by the triage doctor.
- If the patient requires a companion, the above questions and temperature screening will be required of the companion as well.
Returning to Work After Illness Policy:
Please talk to your supervisor about your illness and symptoms. Your supervisor will relay your symptoms to one of the GLEC COVID officers (Dr. Brown, Dr. Cooke, or Shelby Weaver, RN).
- If there is a high likelihood the illness is NOT COVID (seasonal allergies, mild cough or sneezing or runny nose consistent with typical allergies, etc):
- Return to work as soon as cleared by a GLEC COVID officer.
- Symptoms such as sore throat, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, body aches, low grade fever, and new onset of severe headache – will return 24 hours after symptoms abate.
- If there is a reasonable chance the illness IS COVID;
- If you have some combination of a new uncontrolled cough, difficulty breathing, a fever over 100 degrees, or anosmia (loss of smell not caused by nasal congestion), you will be advised to contact your doctor. Return to work when cleared by your doctor (in writing) or a negative COVID test and 24 hours after symptoms abate.
- If diagnosed as COVID:
- We will follow Berrien County Health Department recommendations.
*A team member who has been exposed to someone, such as a household family member, who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 should self-monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms for 14 days. However, while self-monitoring, the team member will continue to work as long as they do not have symptoms.
** We will follow the BCHD recommendations if contacted specifically about an employee.
This GLEC/GLSC Returning to Work After Illness Policy was created with advisement from the Berrien County Health Department.