COVID19 and the Psychiatrist’s Office

Dear Patient:

With the corona virus outbreak known as COVID19, it has become quite easy to become swept up in the national anxiety and fear about the possible spread of infection. While the danger is quite real, there are several ways to avoid feeling helpless or overreacting to the situation. The WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have announced precautions we can and should all follow to remain as safe and prevent the spread of the virus to ourselves and to our communities as much as possible. Several of these are listed here:

  1. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  2. Avoid touching your face.
  3. Cover your mouth when your cough or sneeze. Try to use your elbow.
  4. Avoid physical touch and contact with others.
  5. Try to remain at least 3 feet (1 meter) apart while standing or sitting.
  6. Avoid large gatherings or crowded events.
  7. If you experience any symptoms, such as fever, cough, or fatigue, then you should remain at home and to contact your doctor for further advice.

 With these precautions in mind, if you are feeling healthy, you should not be afraid to leave your home for important errands, appointments, or other purposes as long as you are not going to be in settings where there is risk of infection. During the “Shelter in Place” order until April 7, only essential travel and errands are permitted, including healthcare visits to your doctor or mental health clinician.

What’s happening at my office?

My office will remain open for business. I am seeing all of my patients during regular office hours.

Please know that your safety and well-being always comes first! I am wiping down all sitting furniture and doorknobs with anti-viral wipes several times daily. My office space is large enough that it is never necessary to be less than a meter apart. Bathrooms have plenty of soap.

Are there other options?

However, should you become symptomatic, and find yourself needing to remain at home, I am also able to offer “virtual” appointments by video chat over the internet. If you are interested, please send me an email to request more information. This will allow me to register your email address to access the video portal and to schedule video appointments. While there is no additional charge for this service, you may want to check with your insurer about reimbursement for virtual services.

Video chat is available from a number of vendors. I have chosen to use Google Meet (a.k.a. Google Hangouts or Google Hangouts Meet) for video appointments at this time. Appointments may be sent to you by email in advance or by email or text at the time of the appointment. To use Google Meet, you will “join” a meeting I have set up for you on the day and time we have arranged. If you are unsure how to join the meeting, please let me know as soon as you can. Or you may click here for additional help. If you would prefer using a different internet video service, please let me know, and I will try to accommodate your request.