March 12, 2020
Preventive Measures Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
To all Clients of Central Park Veterinary Clinic,
With the concerns related to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to let you know what we at Central Park Veterinary Clinic are doing to reduce exposure risk for our clients, staff and patients. While we should not be in “panic mode,” it is appropriate to prepare for if or when there comes a time that our local community is directly affected by this disease. We want to be prepared to continue to provide the high quality veterinary care and client service that you expect from us. We are offering alternative appointment options to reduce human exposure risk- these options are listed at the end of the letter. Our commitment to your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of your pets is our top concern.
Disinfecting Protocols: We already have strict disinfecting protocols in place for all equipment and exam rooms between each patient. We are increasing the frequency in which we disinfect public areas such as the waiting room and restroom. We generally feel that our cleaning and disinfecting protocol has always been sufficient to reduce risk of contagious disease, but have stepped it up in light of recent concerns.
Pet Risk: At this time, we do not know enough about COVID-19 to advise you very much about your pet’s risk. We do know that there have been positive tests on dogs but that they did not show any symptoms of COVID-19. As far as we know at this time, our pets cannot get sick from this infection. Although we do not think this is a risk, there is a chance that pets could harbor the virus, which means a chance they could spread it to humans. There is NO evidence that this occurs at this time, but we just don’t know enough about it yet to be sure. Using appropriate hygiene for yourself (hand washing after handling your pet) is the best way to reduce risk. This information will be evolving as we learn more about this disease.
Reducing human exposure risk:
- At this time, we are open our regular hours for examinations, vaccines and procedures by appointment.
- We have asked that our employees stay home if feeling ill or if they have had possible exposure to COVID-19, as well as after travel to a higher risk area of the country/world. We are also enforcing more frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing for all employees, which is not an issue as we have always emphasized good hygiene due to the nature of our work.
- We kindly request that if you are sick, or at known risk of exposure to COVID-19, that you reschedule non-urgent appointments for a time when you are feeling better. If your pet’s appointment cannot wait, please let us know prior to your appointment so that we can determine the safest way to provide care for your pet. We are attempting to balance care of your pet with protecting you and our employees.
- We are offering alternate appointment options to attempt to reduce risk of human exposure to disease. If you would like to limit your exposure, we have a few options for limited exposure appointments (described below).
- When you come in for an appointment, we kindly request that you use the hand sanitizer available at the front desk. Alternatively, there is a restroom to wash your hands thoroughly if you prefer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or thoroughly wash hands afterwards if using a tissue.
- Plan ahead: Since we do not have an outbreak locally YET, anyone with pets due for their annual examination, testing and vaccines within the next couple of months may want to consider scheduling their appointment ahead of time to try to avoid having a lapse in the worst case scenario of an outbreak that may lead to quarantine. We will do the best we can to fit people in quickly.
Medication Refills and Prescription Foods: Please call ahead to request refills and for pet food pickups so that we can have everything ready for you when you come in. This will minimize waiting time in the reception area. Your other option would be to order medication refills and pet food through our website! Easy and fast delivery right to your home without you having to come in. We have an online store right on our website ( centralparkvet.net ). For pet foods, we recommend ordering directly through the Hills To Home Program- there is a QR code and a link on our website front page that will take you directly to the Pet Parent Self Registration page. Both of these sites are more reliable than many other online ordering options. We have a better relationship with these stores and can better monitor and guarantee that you are getting the right medication or food every time. It also continues to support our local business and we appreciate that more than you can know!
- Please contact us prior to your appointment time if you would like to take advantage of one of these options. If you are immune-compromised, or wish to reduce your exposure, we strongly recommend that you take advantage of our reduced exposure appointment options. If you are not feeling well, or in a self-quarantine situation, we request that you use the Minimal Contact Appointment Option below. All of these appointments cost the same, so please choose whichever works the best for you.
- Regular appointment: Obviously you may come in for your appointment as usual- no special preparation needs to be made and we will just minimize direct contact and practice disinfecting protocols as usual.
- Lower Contact Option: If you would like to minimize your time in the waiting room but would still like to come inside with your pet for the appointment, you may call the front desk on your cell phone when you arrive in the parking lot to tell us you are here. We will call you when your exam room is ready and you can enter directly into the exam room without having to wait in the reception area. In the exam room, we can complete the entire appointment, as well as check-out and collect payments. (If you do not have a cellular phone, just call us before you leave home and tell us what type of car you have and we will keep an eye out for you!)
- Minimal Contact Option: If you would like to avoid coming into the building at all, you may call us when you arrive in the parking lot and we will come to your car to collect your pet. All other communication will be completed by phone while you wait in your car. It can be difficult to communicate well by phone for some issues but we will work to see what we can do to make everything run as smoothly as possible.
- Triage: If you are not sure if your pet needs to come in for an appointment and you are concerned about exposure, please feel free to call and discuss your pet’s condition. We will do our best to determine whether your pet can wait to be seen or should be seen more urgently. There is no cost to call us for triage information!
We do ask that you allow us some grace in implementing these alternate appointment options as they are very new to us and we may have to adjust the protocols as we go along to allow things to work well for you, our clients, as well as our team. The lower contact appointment options will likely take a little extra time, so take that into consideration as we attempt to keep our schedule running smoothly.
Central Park Veterinary Clinic is doing everything we can to stay informed as more details become available. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the guidance available from the Centers of Disease Control as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association.
We like to think of ourselves and our clients as a team. We will continue to work together to provide excellent veterinary care for your pets.
Please feel free to call to discuss any of this information, or to schedule/reschedule/change an appointment in light of this information.
The Veterinarians and Staff of Central Park Veterinary Clinic