OK folks, so here’s a bit of a report card after being open for three months in our new pandemic reality. I am happy to report that the processes I researched and established have shown themselves to be appropriate and effective. I have had NO threats or concerns about the status of clients, my office or myself. Many thanks to YOU!
Quote from client – “I had put off self-care given the current climate. However, the experience I had with Sam was very positive. I felt safe. The office is neat and clean. The work was effective and I rebooked before I left”
The practical experience and research appears to indicate that the principle form of transmission is breathing aerosols that contain Covid-19, in an amount that will make you sick. While it is impossible to reduce 100% of aerosols, there are a number of steps to reduce them to the lowest possible level. This is done through ventilation and filtration (which includes masks).
While the concern about transmission from surfaces appears to have lessened, I have not wavered in addressing this potential pathway. Decontamination of surfaces, cleaning of linens and washing my hands addresses this concern.
With these principals in mind, the following summarizes my best practices as required by Federal and State agencies and distilled from industry expertise:
1. Intake Process
- By far, this is the most important step. Keeping sick people at home. For new clients, I do a verbal screen.
- Temperature Screen – Everyone gets a temperature scan when they enter.
- As many of you know, I have 14 question Covid-19 intake form that you have to fill out every time you come for an appointment! There are “early warning” symptoms (loss of smell or taste, fever, shortness of breath, unexplained rashes) that can indicate the onset of Covid-19. If there is any question, the appointment is cancelled.
- For clients that have travelled and not gotten a Covid-19 test, I have asked that they take 14 days before they return to my office.
- I am deeply appreciative of how respectfully all of my clients treat this process.
- As many of you have enjoyed the sounds of Lowell Road while receiving bodywork know, I am fortunate to have windows and those windows are ALWAYS open.
- My landlord has ungraded the HVAC filtration system with filters fine enough to remove viral particles.
- I also have a HEPA filter rated for a room larger than my office. HEPA filters by definition, remove 99.97% of particulates. That is an even greater removal rate than the building ventilation. For the coldest days of the year or when windows need to be closed for client comfort, I will use the HEPA filter.
- ·My masks are homemade 3-layer cotton masks. According to the CDC masks with at least 2 layers of fabric are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used in public settings. Two-layer masks remove up to 80% of droplets. Research out of Australia shows that masks made with three layers of cotton are even more effective.
- I wear a clean mask for every client. All of my masks are laundered each night in hot water to ensure they are clean.
5. Linens & Shirts
- As I did before the pandemic, I use clean linens for every client. Dirty linens are cleaned per CDC guidance with hot water and detergent. The bag that they are transported in is also cleaned. Clean linens return to the office in clean bags.
- I wear a unique shirt for each client. This shirt is used one time and cleaned in the same manner as linens and masks.
- I wash my hands before/after every client. As required by the State, I am also wearing gloves for treatments.
- Again, as I did before the pandemic, I fully decontaminate the table, face cradle, bolsters, pillows, cups and bottles after each client.
- I use EPA approved antiviral cleaners.
- The cleanable chair, laundry basket, door handles, light switches, POS system and flat surfaces, all get wiped down with antivirals.
7. Other Steps
- Therapist Status Board – You may not have noticed, my little white board has MY temperature each day and the number of people with unknown status that I have been in contact with in the last 7 days (at supermarkets, etc.).
- Hand Sanitizer – Always available for your and my use.
- Removal of Extraneous Items – In an effort to make the office “cleanable”, I have placed books, certificates and non-essentials in closets.
- Vacuum – Several times a week, the office and waiting room are vacuumed with a HEPA filtered vacuum.
That’s a big laundry list Sam! And it is…. And even if you just skim this, I hope you understand how seriously I take YOUR safety. And that I am taking every step possible to keep everyone in my practice as safe as possible. If you have questions about any of this, please let me know.