Safe Operation

One positive test could close your hospital for weeks

To find out if you should be quarantined you should contact your local health department.

Note that there are specific guidelines for employees who are delivering essential services - and this includes veterinarians who are working on those veterinary services that are exempt from Executive Order 202.6 (That closes non-exempt business premises)

Here are the NY State Department of Health Protocols for Essential Personnel to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection

New York City Department of Health has issued it's own guidelines specifically for veterinarians.

We talked with NY DoH about this and they asked us to stress that contacts of cases should remain home if essential functions can be maintained without the exposed staff member being at the work place. Exposed contacts should not be at work unless it completely jeopardizes the ability of the practice to function. Clinics should be smart about who they allow to come back and when. The ability to have exposed but healthy contacts remain at home may differ in different parts of the state as the virus spreads across the state. Contact your local health department to discuss the epidemiology in your region.

The local health department will be making their decisions based on guidance from the NY Department of Health and you can download their guidelines.

Those guidelines require mandatory quarantine for a "Person has been in close contact (6 ft.) with someone who is positive, but is not displaying symptoms for COVID-19"
That means that if anyone tests positive at your hospital, everyone who was within 6 feet of them during the last 2 weeks could be quarantined by the Health Department.

They also have a precautionary quarantine for anyone who is known to have had a proximate exposure to a positive person but has not had direct contact with a positive person and is not displaying symptoms.

However another set of guidelines to local health departments clarifies that for coworkers If an asymptomatic employee calls their supervisor and notifies them that they are required to stay home in quarantine because they were a contact of a confirmed case, the contacts they had at work are considered “contacts of a contact” and therefore not at risk. These “contacts of a contact” are not required to be in quarantine and should be permitted to continue to work, following recommendations for social distancing as appropriate.

So operating safely isn't just about keeping individual staff members safe. It determines whether your hospital is going to be able to be around to provide essential veterinary care. If you can't provide that care, then there will be a greater burden on the hospitals around you that may already be stretched to capacity.

Webinar recording - The Coming Coronavirus - How Telehealth can help you keep calm and carry on

This webinar will provides an update of what we know about COVID-19 in pets at the moment and then will focus on how to position and implement a virtual care platform to help mitigate both the direct and indirect effects of the virus in your practice. Access it on our online learning platform.

Webinar recording - Covid-19 viral transmission, and options for veterinary hospital planning.

This hour long presentation covers biological aspects of coronaviruses, disease symptoms, viral transmission, and options for veterinary hospital planning.

Alison Stout,DVM is a veterinarian pursuing her PhD in the lab of Dr. Gary Whittaker at Cornell University, where they broadly study coronaviruses. She graduated in 2011 from Cornell University with a BS in Animal Science and Agricultural Sciences Education. After spending two years researching equine herpesvirus, she went to vet school at Cornell and graduated in 2017. Her interests are in zoonotic and infectious diseases. .

Watch the recording.

Download slides

Best-of-the-best links

There is a huge volume of resources now available for handling Covid19. We have put together a list of some that stand-out to us as being most useful. Please send us other suggestions.

NYS Department of Health Your go-to site for anything related to client and employee health
AVMA process for deciding how to handle each case Flow chart for assessing risk and choosing options depending on the risk
Dr. Scott Weese -has a great blog on social distancing in clinics and - Social Distancing Guidelines Excellent MUST READ paper from a well-known expert, it includes
  • Table of treatments with criteria for assessing if they are essential
  • Recommended social distancing procedures
  • Detailed advice on handling animals from "high risk" households
AVMA guidelines on admitting a patient from a Covid-19 household This is about as good as it gets for handling pets where they have been exposed to the virus
AVMA FAQ for veterinarians Authoritative answers to some of the most frequently asked questions
AVMA FAQ for pet owners If you client is asking - AVMA has some answers you can trust
AVMA Main Covid-19 page Constantly updated - easily links to all the AVMA resources
CDC Main Covid-19 page More consumer oriented and broad.
Humane Society of American - Shelter Kit Must see resource for anyone involved in animal welfare
NYS Animal Protection Federations - Shelter Protocols Essential updates for NY Animal Welfare