Chattanooga has been very fortunate to have a low COVID-19 case count, and a lot of that credit goes to the people abiding by recommended social distancing and other health protocols!
As we reopen, many people are wondering what exactly it is that we are doing to stay safe within the clinic.
#1 Staying Informed
The most improtant thing we can all do is stay informed about the lastest information on COVID-19 and recommended protocols, specifically from credible sources!
We are using several different sources, and applying the most stringent guidelines from all of them.
First and foremost is the Hamilton County Health department. We are staying up to date with all the COVID-19 close contact guidllines being issued. (Fortunately, most of the recommendations are ones we were already following as a healthcare clinic.)
Another great set of resources has been National Associations for Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) has been phenomenal in organizing weekly trainings on how to address with COVID-19 protocols.
We’ve also been following the state associations for their recommendations. This includes both the Tennessee Acupuncture Council (TAC) and FL State Association of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture (FSOMA).
Finally, we’ve been consistently communicating with other acupuncturists across the US and globally. This has allowed us to stay on top of any newly available information.
#2 Keeping the Clinic Clean
As mentioned earlier, our pre- COVID-19 protocols already met most of the recommended guidelines. This includes sanitizing the treatment bed after each patient, using single-use pre-sterilized needles, and clean/fresh sheets. Our protocols also included regular handwashing before and after each patient interaction.
What is New:
We are now wearing masks the entire time we are in the clinic to prevent any possible transmission. We also have increased our sanitation routine to include every commonly touched surface after every patient. This includes all door handles and bathroom surfaces.
We’ve also added full sterilization of the treatment room at the end of every shift. We use a device that uses UV and Ozone gas to reach every nook and cranny within the treatment room.
#3 Screening Everyone
A major factor in preventing a big spike in COVID-19 cases is early detection. Many of the recommended protocols bear this in mind. While we can’t know if someone is asymptomatic, we can do our best to act on the first sign or symptom.
For that reason, we check everyone’s temperature as they enter the clinic space. We also have notified everyone that if they are feeling unwell, have traveled, or come into contact with someone who is ill to call and cancel their appointment (with no penalty).
#4 Universal Precautions
Finally, we apply universal precautions to everyone entering the clinic. This means that we assume everyone is an asymptomatic carrier and act accordingly.
For patients, these protocols looks like:
1. Immediate hand washing after the temperature check at the front desk.
2. A mask or face-covering is worn at all times within the clinic.
This also means that our lobby is currently closed, and patients arrive and go directly to the treatment room. As a byproduct of this, only one patient is allowed in the clinic at a time.
We Will Get Through This Together
COVID-19 hit the world fast, and it made an impact on the daily lives of pretty much everyone. Fortunately, most of us will be OK despite it being easily spread. And, as a community, we can make sure those of us who are higher risk stay safe as well.
All of the new precautions we take will help us make sure everyone has access to the necessary medical care should they need it. And, these protocols will help us stay safe individually as well.
We can do this, and we can do it while caring for others.