Dear Patients of Great Lakes Eye Care + Great Lakes Surgery Center,

We want to assure you that Great Lakes Eye Care and Great Lakes Surgery Center is here to provide you with the highest quality of care as we continue to monitor reports of the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  During this time, our top priority is the health of our staff and patients.

Please see our policy below:

 

Great Lakes Surgery Center COVID-19 Policy

March 18, 2021 edition

COVID-19 – What we Know:

  • This virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. It can also remain on surfaces and be transmitted from hand to mucus membrane (nose, mouth, or eyes).
  • Most patients have flu-like symptoms. There is some disease spread by people with minimal to no symptoms. Patients with more symptoms are likely more contagious.
  • The average number of days from contact with the virus to onset of symptoms is 5.1 days.
  • Older adults are at increased risk of requiring hospitalization and dying if diagnosed with COVID-19 (1100x 65–74-year-old, 2800x 75–84-year-old, and 7900x 85 plus-year-old).
  • We can slow the process with social distancing, washing hands often, and wearing a mask.
  • Our services are vital.
  • A vaccine is now available.

 

Our Goal:

  1. To preserve and restore eyesight in our community, as well as to provide surgical care for patients. During this pandemic we want to help reduce the likelihood of our center being a vector for virus spread. We will balance patient volume with staff and patient safety, maintaining social distancing as much as we can with our job duties.

 

We will:

  • Work with the minimum number of providers and staff possible to ensure safe patient care.
  • Disinfecting all surfaces (including, but not limited to; horizontal surfaces, door handles/knobs, patient equipment, etc.) after each patient.
  • Put up plexi-glass barriers at all clerical patient interaction areas.
  • Remove shared items around the office, including coffee centers, patient refreshments (cookies), magazines, etc.
  • Require all GLSC staff and Doctors to check their temperature and complete the self-monitoring questionnaire at the beginning of their work shift.
  • Encourage staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Instruct all staff members with illness to follow the “return to work after illness” policy.
  • Space all chairs in the waiting room at least 6 feet apart.
  • Disinfect all waiting room chairs after each use.
  • Practice social distancing rules (keeping a distance of 6 feet between staff member and patient or staff member and staff member) when more personal interactions are not required.
  • Minimize number of staff in lounge and locker room at any given time.
  • Pre-Admission Testing (PAT) - Call each patient prior to day of surgery. Ask COVID-19 screening questions. Instruct our protocol – patient to wear mask in the building, responsible adult waits outside in car for phone call from GLSC staff re discharge instruction and when patient is ready to go home.
  • All patients will have temperature taken and screening questions asked again upon arrival to the facility before checking in.
  • If necessary, patients are limited to one visitor/companion who is providing transportation to the patient receiving care. If the patient is capable of being alone, we will ask the visitor/companion to wait in the car.
  • Continue to provide hand sanitizer dispensers at every workstation and by every employee entrance.

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocol:

  • All staff members will wear either an N-95 mask or surgical mask provided by GLSC.
  • Staff will not remove their mask unless absolutely necessary - needing to drink, eat lunch, blow nose, etc. (Masks will be left on for certain activities like going to the bathroom!)
  • Hands will be washed either with approved alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer before and after putting on a mask (or taking off a mask).
  • For staff wearing any mask - the outside of the mask must always be classified as contaminated.  Therefore, hands must always be washed every time a staff member touches their mask or its elastic bands.
  • Eye protection is available and encouraged for all clinical staff. Regular prescription glasses “count” as eye protection.  If safety glasses are used, they should be sanitized at the end of the day.
  • All patients and visitors will wear a surgical mask while inside the building.

 

 

COVID-19 suspect protocol:

  • Upon entry, every patient will be asked to use the nearby hand sanitizer station and the following screening questions will be asked;
    • Have you had a fever over 100 degrees in the last 24 hours?
    • Do you have (new or different) shortness of breath?
    • New onset of cough?
    • Have you been diagnosed with COVID in the last 14 days?
  • Temperature will be taken.
  • If the answer to any of these questions are ‘yes’, or if the temperature reading is over 100, then the patient will be sent home immediately and advised to follow-up with their PCP.
  • If the patient requires a companion, the above questions and temperature screening will be required of the companion as well.
  • All patients and necessary companions will be given a new surgical mask to wear.

Returning to Work After Illness Protocol:

Please talk to your supervisor about your illness and symptoms. Your supervisor will relay your symptoms to one of the GLEC COVID officers (Dr. Brown, Dr. Cooke, or Shelby Weaver, RN).

  1. If there is a high likelihood the illness is NOT COVID (seasonal allergies, mild cough or sneezing or runny nose consistent with typical allergies, etc):
    1. Return to work as soon as cleared by a GLEC COVID officer.
    2. Symptoms such as sore throat, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, body aches, low grade fever, and new onset of severe headache – will return 24 hours after symptoms abate.
  2. If there is a reasonable chance the illness IS COVID;
    1. If you have some combination of a new uncontrolled cough, difficulty breathing, a fever over 100 degrees, or anosmia (loss of smell not caused by nasal congestion), you will be advised to contact your doctor. Return to work when cleared by your doctor (in writing) or a negative COVID test and 24 hours after symptoms abate.
  3. If diagnosed as COVID:
    1. We will follow Berrien County Health Department recommendations.

*A team member who has been exposed to someone, such as a household family member, who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 should self-monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms for 14 days. However, while self-monitoring, the team member will continue to work as long as they do not have symptoms. 

** We will follow the BCHD recommendations if contacted specifically about an employee.

This GLEC/GLSC Returning to Work After Illness Policy was created with advisement from the Berrien County Health Department.