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Alberta health care practices quickly preparing to reopen during COVID-19 pandemic

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WATCH ABOVE: Legally, many Alberta health care services could re-open Monday. It’s all part of the province’s recovery plan, but the reality is that not everyone is ready to roll out the welcome mat. Morgan Black explains – May 4, 2020

As part of the Alberta government’s recovery plan, many health care practices were allowed to reopen on Monday, after being forced to close several weeks ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, that doesn’t mean every health care professional is ready to welcome patients just yet.

READ MORE: What Albertans can and can’t do as COVID-19 restrictions ease

“[The government announcement] came a little faster than we thought, to be honest,” said Scott Lopetinsky of Century Vision Care. “We’re getting the place ready for patient care and we plan on starting routine eye exams on May 11.”
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As with most businesses, the number of patients allowed inside will be reduced, patients will be given masks and barrier guards will be installed.

Lopetinsky said he and his staff felt the week of preparation prior to re-opening was much needed.

“I think easing into all of this is best,” he said. “We have six weeks of patients to catch up on as well. We also have to plan on seeing fewer patients in the future.”

President of the Alberta College of Optometrists, Dr. Nasir Khan, said many optometrists are ready, or almost ready, to open.

“I think a lot of people are ready and the people who were closed knew what was going on. I think the guidelines have been very good saying, ‘If you’re going to open, here are the requirements that you must have,'” said Khan.

Khan also said appointments may take a bit longer.

“You’re not going to have those quick in and outs. We need to clean the equipment and make sure everything is washed. If you’re trying on glasses, all the glasses have to be washed with proper methodology,” said Khan.

READ MORE: A look at relaunch implications for Alberta’s health professionals

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Some Alberta chiropractors are also not quite ready to re-open.

“We are able to open in Alberta and we do have some new directives given to us from the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors,” said Dr. Mailie Harris.

“But, we will be spending this week training our staff and getting the proper personal protective equipment for ourselves and our patients. We’re also putting in some new distancing guidelines.”

Harris said each chiropractic clinic can open when the staff feels ready to open, regardless of date. Harris’ clinic also plans to open on May 11.

At least one Alberta business was ready to reopen on May 4: Grant Fedoruk said he’s been preparing to reopen Leading Edge Physiotherapy ever since government restrictions forced it to close to all but emergency cases back in March.

“Right from the day we suspended operations, we started to prepare. That was more than six weeks ago,” said Fedoruk.

Fedoruk said he knew there would be a time when they could open to the public and they spent time planning out what that would look like.

“We made all of our assumptions based on the fact that somebody may have COVID-19 and we worked backwards based on that,” said Fedoruk. “We’ve been putting our measures to the test [with our emergency cases]. This was the next step.”
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READ MORE: Canada’s coronavirus cases surpass 60,000

Fedoruk said, when it comes to providing the best and safest patient care, there’s no rush for health care services to reopen.

“The government set a date to open. They didn’t say anybody had to open and they didn’t that you should open. They left it to us to make a decision for when we’re ready,” said Fedoruk. “I applaud those businesses that are taking some extra time to get in all the measures that they need to.

“It’s our responsibility to go overboard. It’s better to do too much than feel like we haven’t done enough.:

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