For the past couple of weeks we at Haw Creek Animal Hospital have been working within the confines of NC State mandates with regards to our response to the COVID-19 threat. We have performed some parking lot service and done our best to keep the waiting area as empty as possible. Today Buncombe County imposed a 2-week “stay at home” mandate and the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board (NCVMB) provided us with some clarification about what this mandate means to us as providers and you as clients.
If you have not already seen it, the Buncombe county mandate can be viewed here:
Buncombe Stay Home – Stay Safe
This document essentially says that unless you are sick you can (much deleted content here):
Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian
Later in the document it defines "Essential Health Care Operations" as (again, lots of deleted categories)
Emergency veterinary and livestock services
The NCVMB sent an email bulletin that helps clarify what those 5 words really mean. They write:
[Regarding other counties as this was written before Buncombe announced] These mandates included the following statement in regards to essential businesses/services:
“Healthcare and Public Health Operations also includes veterinary care and all urgent healthcare services provided to animals”. The Governor has not yet issued a statewide mandate. Veterinarians are reminded that under recommended COVID-19 “shelter in place” protocols, visits should be limited only to those patients requiring frequent follow-up care, and sick or emergency patients. It is up to the DVM in charge of the case to determine if treatment and services are essential for that animal. Non-essential visits (those that can be reasonably postponed given the health of the patient) and elective procedures should be delayed.
Haw Creek Animal Hospital had an early closure last weekend as we had 3 full time and 3 part time employees unable to work. Thankfully, the two who were tested for COVID-19 have subseqently received negative results and the others were either diagnosed with "bad colds" or were individuals who were unable or unwilling to come to work given the current situation. Our plan moving forward is to operate our normal hours to provide services consistent with the NCVMB guidelines above.
We are here to see emergency and urgent cases.
We are here to continue follow-up care for your animals who are subject to ongoing treatments.
And (within reason) we are here to comply with mandated vaccine andwellness visit regulations to ensure you are compliant with state and city laws pertaining to vaccinations and can still purchase flea, tick, and other preventative medicines.
We intend doing as much parking lot service as the caseload allows. Please bear with us as this can be a frustrating process. We are happy to mail refills and medications as needed. In return we ask that you telephone us from the parking lot when you arrive for your appointment or emergency visit, and if you are sick or have any reason to suspect you have been exposed to this virus please let us know ahead of time and have someone else bring your pet to the hospital for the appointment.
We can beat this together. We thank you for your understanding.