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Is it safe to go to the doctor’s office now?

As we continue to adjust to our new normal, you may be wondering if it’s safe to resume in-person medical visits. Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues, skipping appointments could jeopardize your health if you’re ill, injured or have a chronic disease or condition. Fortunately, doctors and other health care providers are taking steps to keep you safe during visits.

What are health care professionals doing to keep me safe?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health departments and professional organizations regularly give health care providers up-to-date information about providing care safely. Doctors, physical therapists and other providers are making these types of changes to protect you:

Sanitizing exam rooms and equipment between patients

  • Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, protective clothing, face shields and gloves
  • Separating sick patients from well patients
  • Checking employee temperatures daily
  • Spacing chairs in waiting areas
  • Pre-screening patients by phone before appointments and at entrances to determine if they or someone they live with has coronavirus symptoms

What can I expect when I arrive at the office?

Social distancing is important even when seeing your health care provider. Some providers may ask that you call or text their office upon arrival. You could be asked to wait somewhere other than the waiting room to provide for social distancing.

Before you step inside the doctor’s office, your temperature will probably be checked and you’ll be asked a series of questions to determine if you or someone you’ve recently been in contact with may have coronavirus. You may not be able to keep your in-patient appointment if you have a fever or symptoms. If this happens, you’ll receive instructions about where or when you can be treated. You’ll also need to wear a mask during your visit. If you arrive without one, you’ll be given a disposable mask.

If you do spend time in the waiting room, you’ll likely notice there are fewer chairs and no magazines. While you’re in the waiting room or other parts of the office, try to stay at least six feet away from other people if possible.

Patients are encouraged to come to their appointment alone when possible. If you need a family member or friend to accompany you to provide assistance, please let the office know in advance.

If I don’t feel comfortable going to the office, can I still receive the care I need?

If you’re in a high-risk group, you may not feel comfortable visiting a medical office yet. If your health care provider offers telehealth visits, you can take advantage of a virtual visit. During a telehealth appointment, you’ll use the camera and microphone of your smartphone, laptop or tablet to talk to your provider about your symptoms or concerns.

Don’t let coronavirus fears keep you from receiving health care services. The steps health care providers are taking will help reduce your risk of contracting the virus – and the benefits of staying on top of your health will increase your chances of staying healthier overall.

Find a doctor on the Maury Regional Health medical staff at

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Date Last Reviewed: June 17, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
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