As many of you may have heard yesterday, the provincial government declared Ontario to be in a state of emergency in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As of midnight on March 24, all non-essential services are to be closed in Ontario for 14 days.
However, the government has deemed businesses that provide veterinary services are essential. We will remain open to provide essential services while following best practices for infection control. The health and safety of our patients, clients, staff and community is our utmost priority.
To allow our staff and clients to self-isolate more and limit contact with potential sources of infection, we will be revising our operating hours to the following: Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm, Saturday 8am – 2pm and Sunday 11am-12pm and 5-6pm.
If you think you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, we ask you to stay home and call the clinic for advice and direction. We also encourage all of our clients to use Ontario’s self-assessment (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0) tool to help determine how to seek further care.
At the hospital we have implemented some changes to limit the human-to-human contact to do our part to encourage social distancing. Here are a few things you need to know about what we are doing.
Admission: When you arrive at the clinic please park in our lot and call us using your cell phone to let us know you have arrived. We will ask some appointment specific questions over the phone and confirm the number to call should we need more information. When we have all we need one of our staff will come out and retrieve your pet and bring them into the hospital. We ask that you wait in the car until the completion of the consultation or examination. The animal should be transferred with little to no human contact, regardless of the status of the person bringing the animal.
Discharges: When your pet is ready to go we will call on the number you provided and go over Dr. Paterson’s findings and recommendations. We will ask for a credit card number and manually input it into our terminal. Should you not have a credit card and need to use a debit card, we will have you come into the building, sanitize your hands and use the terminal. Once done, you can return to your car and we will bring your pet, any food/medications and your receipt to you.
Food/Medication pick up: We ask that you call ahead to order food and medications to allow our staff to have things ready for you. Supplies are in high demand so we ask that you give us at least a weeks notice for refills. Also, you should order well in advance of running out just in case your products are not available immediately. Much like the admit and discharge procedures, we ask that you call from the parking lot when you arrive to pick up your order and we will ask for a credit card number and manually input it into our terminal. Once done, we will bring your purchases and your receipt to you.
Verbal consent: Signatures should be avoided because of the need to pass paper and pens. We will advise you by phone the procedures being performed and the associated costs. We will get your consent verbally, and not on any paperwork in your pet’s medical record (with explanation that written consent was not obtained because of social distancing procedures.)
Telemedicine: Some concerns you have about your pet’s on-going medical issues may not require a visit to the clinic. Telemedicine (phone conversations, video chats, photos and video) may be considered by Dr. Paterson for consultations if appropriate. Not all cases can be managed by telemedicine however so we will make these judgements on a case-by-case basis.
We continue to monitor this challenging and unprecedented situation. Please watch for our email, Facebook and website updates and connect by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-822-1644 if you have questions.
None of us know what the next few days or weeks may bring. Again, we stress that we all follow public health recommendations and make smart choices in social distancing and self-isolation. We at McCleary Animal Hospital are here for you and your pets and look forward to the time when we can resume full operations and some one on one face time with the most important part of our jobs – YOU!
Dr Marjorie Paterson & the staff of McCleary Animal Hospital