Coronavirus BRIEFING

California Optometric Association Advises Members to Suspend ‘Nonessential’ Patient Care

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.—With much of Northern California already sheltering in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the California Optometric Association (COA) this week advised optometrists in the state to “voluntarily suspend nonessential or nonurgent optometry care for the next 14 days.” The recommendation was posted on the group’s website in a note signed by Dr. Jason Tu, president of COA. COA noted that the recommendation is “in step with Gov. [Gavin] Newsom’s recent declaration of a state of emergency, including the call for all seniors over the age of 65 and residents with chronic conditions to self-isolate at home.”

COA said it is requesting the cooperation of all California optometrists and issued the following practice guidance to ODs:

• COA strongly recommends that optometrists practicing in California voluntarily suspend nonessential or nonurgent optometry care for the next 14 days. As always, it is expected that optometrists will continue to be available as needed for emergency care and services.

The group noted that it does “not make this request lightly, and it is being done out of an abundance of caution during this historic public health emergency. As health care professionals, we all have a role to play in "flattening the curve" in order to follow sound, scientific public health advice to help limit infections and slow the spread of the virus.”

COA also posted on its site links to various resources related to assist optometrists in navigating paid time off and other options for their employees. To view the resources, visit the post here