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Doctors are carefully instituting new policies to keep patients, and themselves, safe. Dr. Kevin Brenner has restricted his out-of-state patients to private flights to reduce the risk of infection, saying he’s had patients come from Montana, London and the Middle East via jet for their appointments. If a patient flies commercially, the surgeon mandates they self-isolate for 14 days and get tested.
“When you put someone to sleep, if they’re COVID-positive and you don’t realize it, you’re potentially exposing your entire staff [which is why we’re doing so much testing],” he says.
Other doctors are taking their own precautions. Dr. Paul Nassif has switched to Zoom consultations and is scheduling procedures at partial capacity. Dr. Ben Talei requires patients to put their phones in bags to prevent waiting-room contamination. And Christine Chiu has employed a UV-C sterilizer machine that can disinfect an entire room in 15 minutes.
And though L.A. has seen a surge in novel coronavirus cases in recent weeks with record-breaking numbers of positive tests — and a re-shutdown of indoor dining, salons, malls, churches and gyms July 13 — doctors say they have not seen that impact the number of appointments.
“The nervous Nellies will always be nervous Nellies, but they also really, really want something done,” says Chiu. “It’s the best-case scenario; you’re much safer going to a doctor’s office than you are going to a gym or a salon by far because everything’s held to medical standards to start.”
Adds Nassif, who is tested weekly: “Patients still love to come in, and we’ve just got to make sure that they’re healthy.”
This story first appeared in the Aug. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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