CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s no longer business as usual for local doctors’ offices and urgent cares as they try to protect their employees from the coronavirus.
“This is a scary situation, no question about it,” says Doctor Laxmikant Bhoiwala of East Greenbush.
These doctors and nurses are just as worried as everyone else about catching the coronavirus — and they’re on the front lines trying to fight the contagious disease.
“Scary, like some people have to work in the emergency room. They have to be there. God bless them. My son might have to work,” Dr. Bhoiwala tells NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton in a phone call.
Dr. Bhoiwala is one of the lucky ones with a choice. He says he decided Sunday night to shut down his practice at the Urgent and Primary Care in East Greenbush. He’s now moved all his operations online, treating patients over the phone or video chat.
“Well of course there’s nothing quite as effective as seeing someone in person, but for normal things like if someone wants to get a prescription filled, we can do that,” Dr. Bhoiwala explains. “If somebody has a common problem, we can take care of it, and if we suspect something more than that, then we advise them to go to the emergency room.”
He says their biggest concern was the dwindling supply of masks, gloves, and sanitizing products for his employees.
“I was talking to my supplier, they ran out of supply completely. Without proper gear, there’s no sense in coming into close contact with patients,” he explains. “It’s in our best interests and for the patients too.”
Other local practices seem to be following a similar suit. Albany WalkIn Care has signs out front they won’t treat anyone with flu-like symptoms. Even the local emergency rooms warn not to surprise healthcare workers.
“We do not want patients just showing up unannounced. It’s not safe for us, for our workforce, or for other patients that might be in the facility,” said Columbia Memorial Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Clifford Belden during a news conference Friday.
Capital Region hospitals ask please call first before coming in.
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