Don’t Delay Seeking Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic

History is one of our best teachers. And while there’s no one playbook for any pandemic, we can look back to the early 2000s and the SARS pandemic for some important lessons as we wrangle with COVID-19.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Shore Health’s care model shifted in anticipation of the surge of seriously ill patients that we were expecting at South Shore Hospital. Many providers were deployed from our ambulatory clinics—including South Shore Medical Center—to the hospital, our drive-thru testing site in Union Point, and other critical settings in the fight against the virus. This was vital to the health of our community, and we’re grateful to our team for their willingness to help meet this incredible challenge.

Massachusetts shows some early signs of the curve flattening, but experts say we will need ongoing social distancing restrictions for months to come. South Shore Health is in the beginning phases of understanding how this will affect our care for the foreseeable future. How can we address our patients’ health needs before they become serious? How can we do that in the safest way possible?

One tool we have today that we didn’t have nearly 20 years ago is telehealth, or virtual visits.

Recently, South Shore Medical Center launched virtual visits for our patients.

A virtual visit connects a patient and their provider through a secure, online video chat platform. It allows the provider and patient to have a conversation, review history, potentially evaluate physical findings, and make a management plan.

Virtual visits are available for pediatric, family medicine, internal medicine, and specialist visits. Yes, our specialists are here for you during this pandemic, both virtually and in-person.

Some people may be afraid of this technology. We urge you to give it a try. Many of our patients who have already done a virtual visit are now asking for their next visit to be done online! For those who aren’t tech savvy, our team is happy to walk you through it.

Of course, some things just can’t be done in the virtual world. If you or your child are due for a vaccination, it’s essential that you don’t delay getting them. When it comes to vaccinations, the schedule is key to their effectiveness. Our providers may need to touch you, or run tests, to make an accurate diagnosis. Our laboratory and radiology services are open. (We haven’t figured out how to provide those services virtually, yet.)

And, as always, if you’re experiencing chest pain, abdominal pain, new weakness in an arm or leg, or skin discolorations, call us right away, or call 911.

If you do need to physically visit a practice, know that we take safety very seriously. All patients and employees are screened as they enter any of our buildings. This allows us to maintain COVID-free zones to keep us all healthy. Employees who have symptoms of illness are sent home. All patients and colleagues wear masks. We’ve also stepped up our already rigorous cleaning regimen, removed toys from our pediatric area, and more. Don’t hesitate to ask your care team if you have concerns about your in-person visit.

Just because many aspects of our lives have been put on pause does not mean that your health needs are on pause.

We have the time to care for you. We have the staff to care for you. And we look forward to seeing you soon!

Learn more about primary care at South Shore Health.