May 27, 2021 One Health

Why We’re Continuing to Wear Masks at AMC

A veterinarian with a puppy

Why We’re Continuing to Wear Masks at AMC

Please Note: This is an evolving situation. We are closely monitoring the latest information provided by local and federal agencies, and our policy is subject to change as new policies are announced.

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control updated its mask guidance, surprising many. With a few exceptions, the CDC eliminated previous recommendations for social distancing and mask use, including indoors, for those fully vaccinated. The venerable Dr. Fauci concurred. A few days later, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that on Wednesday, May 19, New York State would adopt the new guidance. But when you drop off or pick up your pet at the Animal Medical Center, you will still be required to wear a mask and any AMC team member you see will be wearing a mask. Why?

Healthcare Facility Exemption

Healthcare facilities are one of the exceptions to the new, relaxed guidelines. Veterinary hospitals are not strictly defined as healthcare facilities by state guidance, however we are following the lead of our human healthcare facility colleagues. We are busier than before the pandemic, and if we lose only a few critical team members to COVID-19 infections, staffing shortages will prevent us from providing the care that your pet requires. If everyone wears a mask, we are all safer and AMC can continue to provide the care New York City pets need 24/7.

Densely Crowded Environment

The CDC says masks should still be worn by vaccinated individuals in crowded environments. AMC is just such an environment with tight, shared spaces like elevators, hallways, and examination rooms. During the pandemic, we facilitated social distancing by repurposing unused exam rooms and administrative offices as workspaces for our clinical staff. Once clients and administrative staff are allowed back inside the building, these spaces will return to intended functions, and our staff will return to working in close quarters. On a busy day, the waiting room can fill up quickly; and these days, every day is a busy day at AMC. We want to ensure a positive healthcare experience, and we need the veterinary team to stay healthy so we can keep your pet healthy.

Protecting the Immunocompromised

Some of our clients and colleagues cannot safely receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to other serious health conditions. These immunocompromised folks are still vulnerable to COVID-19. If everyone wears a mask, those who cannot be vaccinated are protected. A little empathy will go a long way in this situation and prevent anyone from going through the uncomfortable process of explaining their unvaccinated status and health condition.

In addition, the pandemic has stressed veterinary hospital employees across the country, and we kindly ask for your compassion and patience while we navigate this exceptional time. Someday soon, I hope, no one will wear a mask because the pandemic will be under control and our health will not be threatened, but until then, mask wearing will continue at AMC.

Tags: COVID-19, Mask, one health, SARS-CoV-2, Social Distancing,

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