Doctor's offices, vision centers facing hard decision of staying open or closing

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 11:53 AM EDT
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Some doctor's offices are temporarily closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Others are staying open, but taking more precautions.

A lot of dentist offices and vision centers are facing that hard decision of whether to close or not close. But those that are still open have put in place new policies to keep patients safe.

The Hamburg Vision Center in Lexington has changed its scheduling to accommodate social distancing as recommended by the CDC. The office is now scheduling fewer patients by the hour to limit the amount of time they have to sit in the waiting area.

"We have made it a point to call of our high-risk patients, 60 plus, and offer to reschedule their appointments or move them to a time where we don't have anybody else in here," said Dr. Karen Santos, optometrist. "We are cleaning much more frequently. My staff is being screened for temperature when they walk in the door."

Dr. Santos says her staff is also washing their hands more frequently and constantly wiping down surfaces with disinfectant.

She says her business is starting to feel the financial burden like other small businesses struggling to stay afloat with reduced hours and visitors. For now, her doors remain open but Santos says if things get worse she'll be forced to shut down too.

We have also called around to some dentist offices that say they will soon be closing due to recommendations of the National Dental Association. Some offices tell us they're pretty busy Tuesday since it's the last day until they reopen in April.

Many medical centers are asking that patients reschedule their upcoming appointments for non-emergencies.

If you're concerned about whether or not you should keep your appointment, contact the office of your medical provider.