MARIETTA, Ga. - An East Cobb doctor says many patients are coming to his office to avoid the sick crowds in emergency rooms and urgent care facilities.
The moment patients walk in the door of the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Marietta, a technician takes their temperature and has them sign a document about their symptoms and international travel over the last 30 days. Once that assessment is done, the next request may surprise you.
"Then we ask them if they would go back to their car to wait until we have a room available and then we will bring them to their room. We want to keep people separated," Dr. Craig Weil explained.
Weil says the goal is to create a cautious sanitized environment. His office includes automatic hand sanitizers and no magazines in the waiting room. The truth is many patients are terrified of emergency rooms and urgent care facilities during this pandemic, where so many people who are sick with the coronavirus congregate.
"We have seen 25% of the patients we see, would have ordinarily chosen to go the emergency room," the doctor said.
Weil says many of the patients he normally sees go the gym, but are now exercising outside or at home and encountering injuries.
He is even keeping his East Cobb doors open to increase airflow for the 10 staffers who are working in these uncertain times.
"There has never been anything like this. This is completely unchartered territory," Weil shared.
Lastly, the office hours have been reduced to cut down on the stress and fatigue of his staff.
Public health officials have urged social distancing to slow down or stop the spread of coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults who are 60+ and people with serious medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are at higher risk of getting very sick from coronavirus.
Georgia Coronavirus Hotline available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 844-442-2681
Atlanta and multiple suburbs have banned in-restaurant dining, limiting eateries to takeout and delivery service, as well as closing bars, theaters, bowling alleys and other gathering places. Tybee Island banned visitors to beaches, as well as the open consumption of alcohol.
Georgia has opened at least 13 drive-thru locations for virus testing and plans more. Kemp says priority for tests is being given to those at highest risk — the elderly, people who already have chronic illnesses, those in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and first responders such as paramedics.
Best prevention measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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