Update: Provision of Veterinary Services
With the Province of Manitoba’s decision to start “reopening” province, the MVMA Council shares the following with members to guide them in deciding what veterinary services to provide. This reopening does not mean clinics should return to “business as usual” – members should continue to be vigilant about ensuring their clinic is a safe place for staff and clients.
The primary consideration when determining what veterinary services to provide should be safeguarding the health of staff, clients and yourself. Another factor is the use of PPE that is in short supply.
- Government physical (social) distancing methods must be implemented at veterinary clinics.
- Continue to utilize tactics that will support physical distancing, such as curbside pick-up/ delivery (of products and pets) and locked-door (no walk-ins) policies.
- Prioritize urgent and essential care.
- Continue to use telemedicine when appropriate. (See more information on the MVMA COVID page under “The MVMA’s VCPR & Telemedicine.”)
- Clinics may consider allowing one client per animal to attend the animal’s appointment. The client must use sanitizer upon entry. Clinics can determine if the client must wear a mask while in the clinic. It is suggested that the client leave the clinic while diagnostics are preformed or when medications are being prepared.
- The provision of surgical services should focus on urgent and essential surgeries. For elective surgeries, consider the use and availability of PPE. Delay elective surgeries if access to PPE is a limited.
- Reduce appointment volumes to support fewer interactions between staff and clients. Clinics need to continue to follow physical distancing methods.
- Clients should be screened before attending a veterinary clinic.
- Staff who are symptomatic or who have symptomatic family members should stay home.
- See more tips on the MVMA COVID page under “Helpful Tips to Minimize Disease Spread in a Veterinary Setting”)
Provincial Guidelines for Therapeutic and Health Care Businesses
Below are the Provincial Guidelines for Therapeutic and Health Care Businesses. It would be ideal if veterinary clinics implemented these strategies in their clinics when applicable. It would show that the veterinary community is taking its role in the prevention of COVID transmission very seriously.
From the Province of Manitoba:
At the direction of their respective regulatory bodies, regulated health professionals, such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, optometrists and podiatrists are no longer limited to providing urgent and emergent care. In addition, individuals who provide therapeutic massage and acupuncture services may resume providing those services.
Occupancy limits of 50 per cent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres can be lifted for regulated and non-regulated health professions, including registered massage therapists.
Service providers must continue to implement measures to ensure that members of the public are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from others, except for brief exchanges.
In addition to general public health guidance for businesses, other important considerations for these businesses include:
- Practitioners should see customers by appointment only and keep logs of appointments for possible contact tracing for a minimum of 21 days.
- Customers and people who may attend with customers may be screened (screening questions) by telephone before an appointment is booked and should not be given an appointment if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- People should be screened when they arrive for an appointment. People identified as symptomatic should not be allowed into the building and should be instructed to call Health Links – Info Santé.
- Waiting room management strategies must be in place. Strategies should include waiting in car if possible, or practice physical distancing if waiting in the business. No more than 10 people may gather in common areas.
- Staff, patients or people attending with patients must use the self-screening tool before booking an appointment. https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/
- Employees must stay home when ill with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Staff are given information about physical distancing.
- Entry into the business, including lines, are regulated to prevent congestion.
- Businesses must post external signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols, along with floor markings where service is provided or lines form.
- Businesses must maintain a single point of entry.
- Patients and people who may attend with patients are screened by telephone before an appointment is booked and are not given an appointment if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- People identified as symptomatic should be instructed to call Health Links – Info Santé.
- Waiting room management strategies must be in place. Strategies should include waiting in car if possible, and physical distancing for those in waiting room. No more than 10 people may gather in common areas.
- Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance/exit for patient and staff use.
- Patients and people attending with patients must sanitize hands upon entry to facility.
- Work/service areas are sanitized after each patient.
- Washrooms have frequent sanitization and a regime for business sanitization is in place.
- Magazine racks and toys are removed and play areas in waiting rooms are closed.
- Patients may wear masks when receiving services, where possible.
- Cashless or no-contact payment should be used to the greatest extent possible.