Dear Patients of Spectrum,
We are now into our 7th month of living through COVID-19 and facing ongoing challenges such as returning to school or the workplace, or even simply learning how to tolerate wearing a face mask. At Spectrum one of our recent obstacles has been managing the significant increase in telephone calls now that most of our work is being conducted remotely. We are aware that at times people have been unable to reach our staff by telephone, or have even been kicked off the line while on hold. In response, this week we have increased the capacity of our telephone service and are in the process of hiring additional office staff. We expect that this will alleviate congestion and ensure that we can respond in a timely fashion. As a reminder, we do have online booking available for doctors and nurses through our Patient Portal. At present, all appointments booked online will be conducted by telephone with in-person follow up arranged by your healthcare provider if deemed necessary.
We have received a lot of questions recently about flu shots. Given that influenza and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms, and that both of these viruses are potentially dangerous, we highly recommend that everyone receive this year’s vaccine when available. Spectrum has not been notified when we will receive a supply of the flu shot and we are working on a plan for safe administration of the vaccine while still maintaining physical distancing in our clinic. We will notify everyone by email as well as an update on our website once this plan is in place. Meanwhile, if you have the opportunity to get the flu shot at work or at a nearby pharmacy, please go ahead and do so and let your doctor or nurse know you’ve received it the next time you see them. Be aware that some pharmacies will charge a fee to give you the shot. Those of you who are 65 or older might consider purchasing a unique flu vaccine that is not covered under our medical plan. This vaccine, called Fluzone contains four-times the antigen of a standard flu vaccine and may generate stronger protection. It will be available shortly through your pharmacy only.
We recognize that many of our patients have the good habit of booking a routine complete physical exam every year or two. Due to limitations imposed by the pandemic, we cannot offer in-person complete physical examinations as in the past. However, most of the preventative care and screening that is done during these visits is achieved by a thorough chart review including updates on vaccinations and ordering specific screening tests based on your age and general health. We encourage patients to book a phone or video consult for a “preventative care visit” which will allow your doctor to determine which prevention tests are due this year (diabetes, cancer screening, etc.) and which targeted physical examinations (blood pressure, prostate exam, PAP test, etc.) need to be done in person. Maintaining good preventative care throughout the pandemic is important and we will do our best to provide this service to our patients, albeit in a modified way
Please remember, if you are visiting Spectrum in person we would appreciate that you follow these guidelines:
- Do not come to the clinic if you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, change in taste or smell, or runny nose. Instead, make a telephone appointment with a doctor or nurse who will provide advice on what to do.
- If you arrive early for your visit, please wait outside of the clinic and only enter the waiting area 5 minutes prior to the start of your scheduled appointment
- Wear a mask for the duration of your time in the clinic
We appreciate your effort in keeping our clinic a safe place for everyone and look forward to a return to normal function in the near future.
– Your Spectrum Team