The covid-19 pandemic continues to surround us, almost 3 years down the track. Despite vaccination rollouts, new strains continue to present themselves. Currently in Australia we are seeing another wave of more and more cases. While we are now in the stage of “learning to live with the virus”, wearing face masks in community settings remains important.
As a health care clinic we see patients from all walks of life, with all sorts of conditions and in various states of health. Some are elderly and some are immunocompromised. Some are carers of elderly or immunocompromised people.
What does Immunocompromised mean?
If you are immunocompromised you either have a medical condition that affects your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses, or the treatment or medication you are taking reduces your immune system’s capacity to fight viruses. An example of this may be treatment for cancer. This means you are more at risk of catching illnesses. You are also more likely to be sick for longer.
As we get older our immune system’s ability to fight viruses and infections also declines. The immune system is slower to respond and there are fewer immune cells to fight infection. This equates to longer healing and recovery times. Combined with the likelihood of other comorbidities, is why people over the age of 65 are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as covid-19.
Why masks are important at PMPP
When we treat clients, we are in a small space with them for 20-40 minutes of time. Being in a confined space with a Covid positive person increases your likelihood of contracting the virus. If one person is wearing a mask, the risk of transmission reduces. If both people are wearing a mask the risk of transmission is lower again.
Masks increase our protection against all illnesses
There have been a myriad of illnesses in the community this year. The common cold, strep throat, influenza, gastro just to name a few. Mask wearing in confined spaces (such as physio treatment rooms) can help limit the spread of these illnesses.
Impact on business
Although we are aware that isolation is no longer mandatory, it is a PMPP requirement that staff do not attend work for 5 days if they are Covid positive. This is to ensure staff and client health and safety at all times, however this does have a significant impact on our business.
This manifests itself as other staff members working extra hours, leading to fatigue and potential sick days later. Clients may have to be cancelled if alternative cover cannot be arranged. If you are injured or in pain, and really need treatment, this is not ideal. Your session may be moved to another time, which then means someone else can not book into this future time. The flow on effects are significant, even with one day off.
Personal impact to our team
If a PMPP team member contracts Covid, not only does this have a financial impact on them, it also impacts their families. They may have to isolate from children or partners, or they may be unable to provide care for elderly family members. They may also miss out on significant events such as Christmas and weddings
We continue to wear masks to protect our staff, to protect their families, to protect their income, and to protect our clients and the wider community. We thank you for your cooperation, consideration and understanding when it comes to mask wearing in the clinic.