Saturday, March 14, 2020
Communities throughout the world are grappling with a viral outbreak of global scale and impact, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). There is no higher priority to our entire SAGE family than the safety of our colleagues, patients and pet parents. As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise nationwide, including in the communities we serve, we have an obligation to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
As veterinarians, a key part of the oath we took was to protect and promote public health. Each veterinarian at SAGE takes the oath very seriously and is working with our teams and colleagues to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. In our effort to keep our hospitals open to provide care for our pet patients while also protecting ourselves and the public, we are working within the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and County Public Health Departments to keep our hospitals and staff free of the virus.
We recently postponed our annual SAGE Symposium from March 29 to October 11, 2020 based on local health department recommendations to cancel mass gatherings in order to mitigate the risk of spread of the virus. Our Symposium provides a full day of continuing education to 1,000 veterinarians, veterinary technicians and staff.
At each of our hospitals we have implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures that meets or exceeds CDC recommendations, to include disinfecting all surfaces more frequently, especially surfaces touched by the public, such as door handles and our front counters. Frequent hand washing, using gloves and avoiding touching our nose, eyes and mouth are protocols we are following, and we encourage you to do the same. We will also not be shaking hands or hugging to prevent viral transmission.
We have instructed staff not to come to work if they or someone in their family is sick, coughing or has a fever. At times we may be short staffed, causing increased wait times for your pet to be seen. Our emergency service works on a triage basis and the more critically ill patients will be treated ahead of those deemed less ill, meaning pets may not be seen in the order of arrival. Please be patient and understanding if it takes us longer than usual to have your pet seen and treated. Our front desk staff will do their best to keep clients informed of wait times.
Finally, please do not personally come to our hospital with your pet if you or a member of your family have a fever, cough, or cold-like symptoms. If possible, please stay home, tend to yourself and send your pet with another person to be treated. If you are ill and cannot find another person to bring in your sick pet, please call us once you arrive in the parking lot so we may utilize appropriate protocols to protect ourselves. To limit exposure, we may take your pet to be treated and ask you to remain in your vehicle and we will not accept toys, bedding, or other personal items for your pet if hospitalized. Furthermore, we ask that all persons not necessary for the decision making regarding your pet’s care stay at home or in their car to decrease the density of people in our lobby and exam rooms. These and other protocols are in place for the safety of you, your family and our SAGE colleagues.
While there is currently no evidence that pets become ill from COVID-19 nor that they transmit it to other animals, including humans, we may take extra precautions with your pet if there is a family member displaying symptoms.
We want to be available to help you and your pets now and in the future. Please help us protect our staff, our families, and our pet parents who are at increased risk of severe complications. We need to work together to protect everyone.
Thank you from each of the SAGE Community of Hospitals,