During the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is best to stay home when at all possible. Staying home puts you and your family at the least amount of risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19. However, accidents happen, and routine check-ups still need to occur. Is the doctor’s office really a safe space during a pandemic?

The short answer is yes, an emergency room or doctor’s office should have procedures in place to keep you safe during the visit. An emergency room or urgent care may send a form to your phone to check in from the safety of your car. They then call the patient when it is their turn to avoid having a large number of people in the office at the same time. This also allows the staff adequate time to clean and disinfect surface areas in between each patient. However, there are great alternatives to in-person doctor visits if the situation is not an emergency.

Schedule a Virtual Appointment
One great alternative to a traditional doctor’s appointment is a virtual appointment. Give your doctor’s office a call to see if they are offering virtual appointments. If they are, you can stay in the safety of your home and still get a chance to speak with the doctor. Your doctor has access to your file, and the conversation is safe on the secure network. This is an excellent option if you need to have a routine appointment or even a COVID-19 screening.

Take Necessary Precautions
If you must have an in-person visit, be sure to follow the suggested safety procedures. This includes wearing personal protective equipment such as a mask, asking about exposure to COVID-19 at check-in, and minimizing the number of people you contact. You should also still be following social distance recommendations while waiting in the waiting area. Some facilities may ask you to remain in your car to mitigate this issue. It is also important to remember to keep washing your hands. If you do not have access to a sink, be sure that the hand sanitizer you are reaching for contains at least 60% alcohol.

When in Doubt, Ask
If you are not sure if virtual appointments are available or what the safety procedures are at the doctor’s office, do not be afraid to ask!