Here’s what you should know during COVID-19
Page last updated September 14, 2020
A Message to Patients
Update About Visitor Policy
During the last six months we have made the difficult decision to limit visitors to our offices as part of our concerted effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The safety of our patients and staff has been our top priority during this time.
After careful consideration and as Florida infection rates decline, Women’s Care Florida will begin taking steps to allow visitors to accompany obstetrical patients to significant ultrasound appointments.
Updated visitor guidelines for pregnant patients
- One visitor may accompany an obstetrical patient during one first trimester ultrasound and for the 20-week anatomy ultrasound only.
- Visitors must be 18 years of age and are asked to remain in their vehicle until the ultrasound is ready to begin.
- Visitors must complete the questionnaire screening process and wear a face mask during the entire portion of their visit.
- We continue to encourage patients to record short video clips or use Facetime during ultrasounds to share the experience with loved ones.
Please contact your provider’s office prior to bringing any visitor to confirm that your specific office location is allowing visitors.
Face Mask and Face Shield Policy
To ensure maximum protection and safety for all patients and staff, please be aware of our face mask and face shield policies during your entire office visit.
Masks with Valves
Masks with valves may not be used without additional protection. Patients who wear face masks with valves will be provided a surgical mask to place over their mask.
Masks with one-way valves make it easier to breathe, but because the valve releases unfiltered air when the wearer breathes out, this type of mask does not prevent the wearer from spreading the virus.
Plastic shields may not be worn as a substitute for face masks, per CDC recommendations. Patients who wear plastic shields must also wear a face mask.
Please note that exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis to maintain ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance.
We will continue to reassess our visitor guidelines and provide you with ongoing updates. Thank you for your understanding as we do our very best to keep you safe.
What to Know About Your Appointment
We offer Telemedicine!
If You Have an Upcoming Appointment
If you come to an appointment at one of our offices, please come alone. If a visitor must accompany you, we will permit only one visitor and that person must be 18 or older, and will be asked to complete our screening questionnaire to identify anyone who has traveled to a high-risk area within the past 14 days, those with known exposure and/or those who are having symptoms.
Please help us protect all patients and staff by following these guidelines when you visit our offices:
- Please honor our NO visitor policy. Visitors will be permitted for extreme exceptions only and must be pre-approved before arriving.
- All patients and approved visitors will be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience as this may create delays in entering our offices.
- Please bring a face covering to your appointment to help us conserve PPE for health-care providers.
- Please wash your hands frequently and practice good hand hygiene.
If You Need to Schedule an Appointment
Please call your provider’s office.
What We’re Doing to Protect You
Caring for you means doing our part to keep you safe during your office visit.
- Staff is conducting pre-screenings and in-office screenings for all patients and visitors, including daily temperature checks of all visitors and staff.
- All patients, visitors and staff are expected to wear face coverings. PPE will be used and properly disposed of in higher-risk interactions.
- We’re following strict processes to sanitize our offices regularly.
- Women’s Care Florida staff members are receiving instruction and ongoing updates about COVID-19, hand hygiene and other safety measures to decrease the likelihood of contracting or transmitting the infection.
If You Are Pregnant
We know that pregnant women can contract coronavirus, but information on whether or not the infection can be transmitted to the fetus is less clear. In an abundance of caution, we encourage pregnant women to avoid large gatherings. When possible, this could include limiting some social activities, working from home rather than going to the office and participating in college courses online rather than in person. If you need a letter to work from home, please contact your Women’s Care Florida provider.
For more information on COVID-19 and pregnancy, visit the CDC.
All scheduled ob appointments will be kept, although we will be offering the option of televisits under certain circumstances. Please call your provider’s office for more information.
Sonograms and Ultrasounds
All scheduled appointments will be kept. Obstetrical patients may use FaceTime or record ultrasounds to share the experience with partners, family and friends. One visitor may accompany an obstetrical patient during one first trimester ultrasound and for the 20-week anatomy ultrasound only.
New Ob Patients
If you need to confirm your pregnancy or are a new ob patient, please contact your Women’s Care Florida provider.
Your providers at Women’s Care Florida have reviewed the risks of COVID-19 infection in pregnancy, including, but not limited to, worsening respiratory status, early intubation, ICU admission, injury to other organs such as kidneys and liver, blood product transfusion, preterm delivery, fetal distress, and maternal/fetal/neonatal injury or mortality.
We have discussed that extra precautions are required to keep both mother and baby protected during delivery, as well as all staff. You understand the potential for disruption of timelines and delays related to efforts in managing a pandemic, which include, among other things, the need to decrease the risk of infection.
- For those of you desiring an epidural, early placement is encouraged to decrease the need for and risks related to general anesthesia.
- Due to the extra time needed for appropriate protective equipment, there may be a higher risk of cesarean delivery if there is early evidence of fetal intolerance to labor. An emergency cesarean will require extra preparation time for protective equipment.
Studies to date have not shown a clear mode of transmission of COVID-19 from mother to baby during pregnancy, however, there have been cases of babies diagnosed within 48 hours of life. Depending upon the severity of illness, COVID-19 positive mothers and their babies may be separated after delivery. If refused, modifications will be made to the standard rooming-in process as needed.
Breastmilk via nursing or pumping is encouraged as there have been no documented cases or warnings of COVID-19 transmission through breastmilk.
Screening mammograms, diagnostic imaging and mammograms are available.
Infusion is still available as a necessary health-care service as it helps keep our cancer and obstetrics-gynecology patients* out of the hospital.
All infusion patients must pass our screening questionnaire before coming in for each visit.
*Infusion services are available for patients as prescribed.
What You Need to Know About Coronavirus
People who have been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 and travelers to affected areas are at elevated risk of exposure. Please note that if you have traveled to a high-risk area or returned from a cruise and develop symptoms of fever, cough or cold, you will be advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Stay home. If you must go out, stay away from others, especially with respiratory symptoms such as cough, sneeze, and fever. Get your flu shot. While the flu shot will not prevent coronavirus, it will help to protect you during the current flu season. Above all, stay at home.
What Does Flatten the Curve Mean?
The COVID-19 spreads rapidly if people interact under normal conditions. A certain percentage of people with the infection, particularly the elderly, may require hospitalization and even intensive care. Each country, including the U.S., has a limited number of hospitals, equipment and staff. We do not want everyone to get very sick at one time and overwhelm the capability of the hospitals to provide care. We want the pandemic to move more slowly so that not everyone gets sick all at once.
Treatments and Testing
While research is ongoing, there is currently no vaccine available to prevent coronavirus or any medication to cure the infection. Supportive care, including hospitalization and even intensive care as needed, is being used to manage symptoms.
At this time, diagnostic testing for this virus can only be performed through state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), and most recently through LabCorp and Quest.
Precautions You Should Take
Stay at home, especially if you are sick. Restrict contact with other people. Even at home, remain at least six feet away from other people while you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.
Symptoms are difficult to differentiate from the flu and include mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms, have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat or fatigue, please contact our office by phone to be screened before you visit any Women’s Care Florida location.
If You Experience Symptoms of COVID-19
- Call your physician or the Florida Department of Health (866-779-6121—open 24/7) for instructions. To limit potential exposure to other patients, do not go to your doctor’s office without calling first.
- If you are instructed to go to a doctor’s office or emergency department, notify the front desk staff of your symptoms immediately upon arrival so they can isolate you.
- Tell your health care provider about any recent travel or contact with people who have traveled to high-risk areas and/or if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- Your health care provider will work with the Florida Department of Health and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
We encourage you to keep yourself updated on information about coronavirus by looking at the following websites:
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Florida Department of Health: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/