Since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic our community has seen many changes. This summer brought a brief lowering of the rate of infection, however with new variants on the scene positive cases are increasing at an alarming rate. COVID 19 vaccinations have shown proven benefit in reducing the rate of acquiring and spreading the illness, as well as significantly reducing the disease severity. However, even in the fully vaccinated, the potential for contracting and passing on the infection remains. Masking and social distancing remain necessary, vaccinated or not, in order to not only protect yourselves, but your loved ones as well. In order to reduce the spread of the virus for all we are recommending that appointments that do not require on site care be done remotely via telehealth.
I understand the desire to have in person visits. However, every patient encounter held on our campus increases the chance of viral spread. The fewer appointments that are held on-site, the smaller the level of risk for everyone.
If any of you need help negotiating the telemedicine set-up, please reach out for guidance. You can also go to obhaw.org and follow the link to try a test call prior to your first remote visit. Do not let discomfort with available technology place you or anyone else at risk.
In closing: Masking and social distancing remain necessary regardless of vaccination status. All our offices will continue to require masks, encourage social distancing, and embrace telemedicine. Thank you for allowing us to serve you as we continue our mission of bringing hope and health to our communities one life at a time.
Janette McGaugh MD
OBHAW Medical Director