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Important Office COVID-19 Update

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COVID Protocol Update - Jan. 23, 2021

What a difference a few months can make. The state Positivity Rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has gone from a low of approximately 3.5% during the late summer to a current 12.4%. A larger Positivity Rate likely indicates the virus has spread more. Unfortunately, the occupancy of the critical care units in our state is also above the desired maximum (less than 80%) at an 83% occupancy.  The welcome news is that vaccinations have started for SARS-CoV-2. 

To the point. We are still following the same clinical protocols as before the availability of the vaccine. We still require ALL our patients to wear masks to their appointments, socially distance in our clinic, and reschedule your appointment if you should answer yes to any of the COVID-19 questions or have a body temperature 100.4 degrees F. or more as before.  If you wish to understand the reasoning for this, please continue reading this update, below. 

Having a vaccination helps to create “herd immunity”.  This means those who have had their full vaccinations and later “catch” the SARS-CoV-2 infection are less likely to have a serious reaction to the virus and thereby not require hospitalization. So most in the vaccinated herd react with a “mild” cold when they catch this bug. However, it is possible herd immunity does not stop those in the herd from the spreading of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others within the herd or outside the herd. We don’t know that, yet. Of course those “outside” the herd (not vaccinated) continue to spread the bug to those “inside” the herd and amongst their peers “outside” the herd. From our CDC:

My patients have asked me if I would I be vaccinated for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Yes, I have had my first vaccination and I have an appointment to obtain my second vaccination. 

I consider vaccinations like other public health preventive measures, wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets. Wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets are like vaccinations. They protect those of us who use them from more serious injury when they are used (the herd). Those who do not use them are more likely to have more serious injuries and fill the emergency rooms when they get into an accident (the virus). Are seat belts and bicycle helmets 100% protective? No. Are there adverse effects or consequences from using them? Yes. (Allergy to materials). Of course, those with conditions that should not wear helmets, use seat belts, or have the vaccination should avoid them.  But for the majority of us, consider how many more people there would be in critical care if we didn’t wear seat belts and bicycle helmets. Consider the higher virus Positivity Rates similar to driving or cycling when you have the worst traffic density. Wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets (vaccination) does not make one invincible. We still need to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, cycles, and people even if we are vaccinated.

Wishing Us a Healthy 2021,

Fred Arima, OD, FAAO