Here at the OCVMC, we are passionate about health. Part of the Veterinarian’s Oath is to protect public health and we have been monitoring the community, state, national, and worldwide COVID-19 data closely (I am a big believer in data and statistics). We have to follow fairly strict guidelines from Cal/OSHA as well. Trying to find a balance is extremely challenging, but we always do our best. Looking at the current numbers here in Orange County, which are going down even after California ended its mask mandate, is certainly encouraging. But increases in COVID cases in Europe and other countries from an Omicron variant certainly bears close attention. Based on this information:
1) We still feel that wearing a mask protects against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. We strongly recommend wearing a mask while indoors within 6 feet of another person, but we no longer require their use for our pet parents while inside the hospital as of March 21st. For the comfort of other pet parents, we do ask that you wear a mask if coughing/congested or someone is sick at home. I think wearing a mask while coughing/sneezing should be a new common courtesy, as even getting a regular cold is not fun! This will be a rule for our staff indefinitely.
2) If you are sick with or exposed to COVID-19, we ask that you continue to use our curbside service.
3) Our staff will continue to wear masks, which are not only for your protection, but also to make sure that we are maximally available to be here to help your pets. A COVID-19 spread among our staff can trigger mandatory quarantine protocols still required by the state, and we don’t want to cancel appointments due to lack of available staff. It is my hope that come April, numbers will remain down and the state rules will be further relaxed so that we can get to a new normal and see everyone completely face to face.
4) We will continue to use air purifiers, disinfectants, and other protocols for safety.
Because community outbreaks can occur at any time, there is a chance that we will require masks again in the future (but hopefully in the far future). We will send out notifications and postings if there are any changes to our protocols.
We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate these challenging times.
Dr. Jeffrey Horn