As you have probably heard, Oregon has reported its first presumptive cases of COVID-19. There are also several confirmed cases in the Seattle area.
This is an evolving, ever-changing public health issue. Our local county health departments along with the Oregon Health Authority and the Washington State Department of Health are actively involved in monitoring, providing recommendations and issuing guidelines.
Health officials urge good hand hygiene, covering coughs, staying home if sick. Prevention is best!
OHA officials and the Washington State Department of Health recommend each of us take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza.
Safeguards we can all take:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Do not go to work or school if sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. If you are feeling sick with mild symptoms and do not need to see medical care, stay home while you recover. If you are sick and plan to seek care, please call before going in for care so arrangements can be made to prevent exposing others.
- For urgent medical needs, call 911.
- Take care of your health overall
- For travel advisories, consult the CDC’s travel website.
Issues Specific to ORM Fertility
- Our CMO and management team will stay current to this developing situation and provide updates as needed.
- If you are sick or showing signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, please let the office know. Your appointment may need to be rescheduled.
- There is no current evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through semen, oocytes or embryos.
- As of Friday, March 13 we will move to virtual consults for all patients including psychology, egg donor program and genetics services. Our scheduling team will coordinate these appointments virtually.
- Physicians and staff are doing everything possible to ensure we’re creating a safe space for our patients including daily updates to our team, decreased meeting size, and increased cleaning/disinfection procedures, etc.
- What can patients do? If patients are feeling unwell, please give us a call to determine if your appointment should be rescheduled.
- Blooddraws, ultrasounds of any type, IUIs, oocyte retrievals and embryo transfers will still be seen onsite at our clinics.
- We will work with insurance companies on billing for virtual appointments to ensure patients are cared for and accommodated properly.
- All scheduled live events (seminars, etc.) in Portland, Bend and Bellevue will be moved to Webinar format and will continue as regularly scheduled using virtual tools such as Zoom & Big Marker.
- Please limit the number of people joining you during your appointments.
- We respectfully ask you to not bring children and infants to your appointment at this time.
- We are not recommending the cancellation of any cycles or embryo transfers at this time. ASRM recommends avoiding pregnancy if you meet the following criteria:
- Fever and/or cough, shortness of breath
- Exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms
- Have a positive COVID-19 test result
- If patients are considered high-risk and are actively undergoing infertility treatment, we suggest that they consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoid embryo transfer until they are disease-free.
- Each individual and couple must decide on their own level of comfort with regard to moving ahead with treatment. The timeline of the current COVID-19 pandemic is unknown.
- We are closely monitoring state and national authorities and will continue to communicate with our patients should anything change.
For more information
- In Oregon, call 211 for general information
- In Washington, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
- OHA Emerging Respiratory Disease page: healthoregon.org/coronavirus
- Washington State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus
- CDC COVID-19 page:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- CDC travel notice: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
- WHO page: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus