An Inside Perspective on the COVID-19 Response
Since the first recorded cases of COVID-19 in Colorado, the lives of AFM staff and providers have drastically changed.
Matt Harris, PA-C, a primary care provider at our Foxtrail office, has been practicing medicine since 2010, and the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic is something he never could have imagined in his career. This is especially true after the state issued stay-at-home orders and non-essential businesses closed.
“When they shut down the businesses, that’s when I knew COVID-19 was going to be a serious problem,” Harris says.
However, as the largest family medicine practice in Northern Colorado, AFM was an essential business. We felt the need to help lead the community through the COVID-19 pandemic, so we quickly adapted new policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of patients and staff.
AFM implements COVID-19 safety measures
With a state-wide stay-at-home order and a pandemic raging globally, AFM acted quickly to implement new procedures. These procedures were designed to protect patients and staff while still allowing providers to deliver much-needed care to the community.
The procedures included designating certain clinics to handle cases that could be related to COVID-19, depending on the symptoms. To help slow the spread of the virus, the staff introduced new procedures for all of the clinics, which focus key preventive measures: minimizing contact with others and social distancing.
Virtual visits to combat the spread of COVID-19
The stay-at-home order also forced providers’ schedules to change. Harris says this meant he was in his clinic half of the week to provide essential In-person care to certain patients. For the other half of the week, he would conduct virtual visits from his home.
Virtual visits allow providers to help patients maintain their health during these unique times and in times when being seen virtually is more convenient. While the providers lose the hands-on aspect of care, they still have the proper tools at their disposal to get to the root of many issues.
“Fortunately, you can obtain a lot of useful information by asking thorough questions and looking at the patient’s history,” Harris says.
What does the future hold with COVID?
Even when cases start to drop and businesses start to open, you should not let your guard down and act less responsibly. As other states have recently shown, there is always a possibility for an additional outbreak.
Still, Harris admits he is an optimist and believes his confidence in medicine has grown stronger through the pandemic.
“I feel like my confidence in the scientific process has been bolstered,” Harris says. “The scientific community seems to have put their full efforts into studying this disease to try to better understand, approach, and treat it.”
Scientists right in our backyard and around the world are working hard to find a remedy to this pandemic.
Help prevent the spread of the virus!
In order to keep yourself and the community safe, here are some easy things you can do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering that covers your mouth and nose
- Avoid touching your face
- Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available
- Maintain at least six feet of distance from others
- Stay home if you are sick or have been in close contact with someone who Is sick