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The COVID-19 Pandemic Will Continue for at Least Two Years

It feels to many citizens that Virginia has over-reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Richmond hospitals admit new patients with coronavirus every day. Because of our sacrifices and commitment to daily social distancing, the number of hospitalized and critically ill COVID-19 patients has not yet exceeded our capacity. In places like Italy where the health system became overwhelmed, the death rate can exceed 20%.

Letting this disease run its course is not an option

According to the models developed by infectious disease specialist Fred Brown, achieving natural herd immunity will require at least 180 million Americans to become ill and survive. 35 million Americans will require hospital care. Even if the health care system can handle this challenge, 4.2 million Americans will likely die, including at least 300,000 young, healthy citizens. A better solution is to continue social distancing and meticulous hygiene until we have a vaccine.

Social distancing, face covering and handwashing must become the new normal

As we gradually re-open our world economy, some businesses and individuals will adapt better than others to this change. Otolaryngology is one of those businesses which inherently involves close contact, especially with the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Yet, the necessity of health care demands that we keep our services available.

Testing and notification of contacts will help reduce outbreaks

Richmond ENT has joined the battle by offering COVID-19 advice and testing. If you or a family member develops a cough or fever, or if you may have been exposed, give us a call.

Office Safety During the Pandemic

  • We will continue to use telemedicine when possible
  • No visitors allowed, excepts parents of young patients
  • Please wear a mask from home to your appointment
  • All employees and patients are screened at the front door
  • Please call from your car on arrival – we may even come to you
  • Absolutely no food or drink in the reception or exam rooms

Surgery Scheduling

This may be an excellent time to schedule ENT surgery, while there are few social commitments and reduced employment opportunities. The surgery center is accustomed to universal precautions and sterile technique, and we screen patients and staff to reduce the possibility of bringing the virus into the facility. We must perform a preoperative history and physical examination within 5 days before surgery. The examination will include COVID-19 testing when appropriate. You must agree to follow CDC guidelines for avoiding coronavirus exposure. If you are not already scheduled, please email the surgical coordinator Kelly Saba or call her at 804-330-5501.

Kids ENT Health

Children are less likely to be symptomatic with COVID-19, but they can get sick and they can become carriers. Most pediatric consultations can be performed using telemedicine techniques. If a detailed ENT exam or surgery is recommended, we may perform COIVD-19 testing on the child and the parent.

Sinus and Allergy Management

Patients with respiratory symptoms who require nasal endoscopic examinations will be tested for COVID-19. We will perform allergy tests for healthy patients who have a recent negative COVID-19 test. We encourage you to self-administer your injections if you can. Low risk patients on a stable dose of immunotherapy may give injections at home. We have moved our injection clinic to our private entrance at the back of the building. Please look for signs.

Ear Care

Examination and cleaning of the ears usually requires an office visit. If you have no respiratory symptoms, we can examine your ears without removing your facemask. Hearing tests are available. Testing is performed in a closed booth, so that the patient is separated from the examiner by a glass window.

Cosmetic Procedures

Simple office procedures like botulinum toxin and fillers are available. Cosmetic surgery in the operating room will be delayed at least two more weeks until we are confident that Richmond will not have a surge in hospitalized patients. It is not too early to schedule a telemedicine consultation.

Emergencies – don’t wait!

We hear almost daily about patients who harmed themselves by delaying a visit to the physician or emergency room for fear of contracting coronavirus. Health care providers throughout the city are trained to isolate infected patients and to avoid cross-contamination. If you have any medical emergency, please call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.

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