Respecting guidelines and following the recommended sanitary regime, we started admitting patients on the 4th of May. A week later, we received a phone call from the sanepid which informed us that one of our physiotherapists had contact with a person who tested positive in screening for SARS-CoV-2. As a result, this physiotherapist was referred for quarantine and qualified for nasal swab. The test was performed two days later and waiting for results began. Multiple attempts to contact Sanepid officials were unfortunately in vain, but considering the amount of work that this institution had to deal with, it is quite understandable. Finally, after two weeks of quarantine, we were informed that our physiotherapist had negative test results and can get back to work. He is to be paid a social security benefit from ZUS but we have not received any administrative decisions regarding this case yet.
What have we learned from this situation?
Only the employee who had contact with an infected person was subjected to quarantine. Other physiotherapists could continue admitting patients and our clinic did not have to close. It was possible thanks to conducting only individual therapy with patients and ensuring optimal organization of contacts among patients. The most important fact is that patients do not meet in the waiting room. There are breaks of 10 to 15 minutes after every visit, which allow the physiotherapist to clean and air his/her office.
It shall be noted that, despite negative epidemiological history, normal body temperature and lack of symptoms, our patient still may be infected with coronavirus. It is therefore crucial that we adhere to the sanitary regime and organize a safe work schedule for all staff members. If not for these two principles, in our case not just the physiotherapist but also several patients from the waiting room could be under quarantine.
Despite fears, our patients still come back for physiotherapy sessions. Especially those who suffer from exacerbation of symptoms or have been injured. This is a smaller group when compared to our situation before the lockdown but the truth is that we too are able to see less patients, since necessary disinfection procedures take some time. Moreover, working in masks can really be exhausting. I find it hard to imagine that this is how our work is going to look for the next couple of months. But the priority is always safety – our own and our patients’.
From the editor: Upon author’s request we do not reveal his last name or workplace.