Coronavirus Update at Fertility Institute of Hawaii

Coronavirus Update at Fertility Institute of Hawaii

We are reaching out to you to provide you with an update of how our office plans to move forward in the wake of growing concerns about COVID-19 Virus, and what we all need to consider to remain healthy and safe.

We want to assure you that FIH is taking proper precautions and is concerned with the health and safety of everyone within our communities. We have and will continue to follow this evolving situation and will follow the directives of local health authorities.

The health and well-being of our patients and staff is FIH’s highest priority.  The leadership team is working diligently to stay informed on the emerging scientific developments and evolving guidance from our local and national leaders in public health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time, the Fertility Institute of Hawaii is to remain open until further notice, with some limitations. We do ask for your understanding and cooperation in helping us keep our patients and employees safe by doing the following:

  1. We are asking all patients who are experiencing flu or cold like symptoms, especially fever, to please reschedule your appointment. Please contact your primary care provider to see if testing or treatment is required.
  2. We are suggesting that it may be a good time to reschedule all non-essential appointments.  We would be happy to reschedule your appointment to a later date.
  3. If you choose to keep your appointment, we are here for you. If possible, we please ask you to limit the amount of visitors in our reception and treatment areas, especially if someone in your family is feeling ill. Please limit the number of companions that accompany you to your appointment.
  4. We ask that you wash your hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizers upon entering and leaving the office.
  5. We will be temporarily removing magazines, water station, and other potential surfaces for your protection during this time.
  6. We adhere to a no handshake and no hug policy to minimize risk.
  7. We will continue to provide you with the utmost cleanliness and infection control in all areas of our office.
  8. All of our employees have been asked to reconsider non-essential domestic and international travel, and have been asked to stay at home if they are not feeling well.
  9. We hope to have a telemedicine option available shortly and will let you know when this is an option as soon as it is implemented.

Our past and current safety measures include:

Infection control procedures are actions taken in health care settings to prevent the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for medical office infection control. FIH cares about your safety and works hard to prevent the spread of infection. FIH complies with all federal, state, and local healthcare laws and guidelines to assure the best possible outcomes for your treatment while keeping the potential for infection transmission minimized.

Staff are not allowed to be at work if sick unless they are cleared by their medical provider.  Before seeing the next patient, everyone on the treatment team washes their hands.

Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the ultrasound, exam table, drawer handles and countertops have been cleaned and disinfected. We cover ultrasound probes with protective covers, which are replaced and the probe is sanitized after each patient.

We understand this situation may add worry to an already stressful time.  As always, if you have any questions regarding your treatment plan and timeline, please reach out to discuss your individual situation with a member of your care team.

Pregnancy and COVID-19—what we know and don’t know:

Patients will certainly have questions regarding the impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on their planned treatment.  The advice provided by the medical societies are as follows:

a. Travel:  Due to the current risk of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the current at-risk areas.  Please know that the list of at-risk areas is changing daily. For an update list of affected areas, please refer to the CDC website.

b. Patients Undergoing Fertility Treatment:  Patients who have high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, should strive to avoid a pregnancy. If these patients are undergoing active infertility treatment, we suggest that they consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer until they are disease-free.

b. Pregnant Women:  Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease. This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers. Other forms of coronavirus have been linked to increased adverse outcomes during pregnancy, but data specific to COVID-19 is not yet available. It should be emphasized, however, that coronaviruses are unrelated to the ZIKA virus, which had very clear implications for pregnancy and fetal development. Given the information we do have, while it would be wise for individuals with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection to avoid pregnancy, there appears to be no cause for alarm for those already pregnant.

c. Attempting Pregnancy:Out of an abundance of caution, patients who have high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, should strive to avoid a pregnancy. If these patients are undergoing active infertility treatment, we suggest that they consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer until they are disease-free.

e. Precautions to reduce disease transmission:  The CDC recommends that all people follow basic hygiene guidelines to decrease the potential for viral transmission.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Between washings, use hand sanitizer regularly especially after touching surfaces such as doorknobs and keyboards in public areas.
  • Avoid touching your face (nose, mouth, eyes) with unwashed/sanitized hands.
  • If you are sick, please stay home and take care of yourself.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough into your elbow. Throw away any used tissues promptly and wash your hands immediately.

We thank you for your understanding as we experience these uncertain times. We look forward to getting through this together and continuing to make your fertility journey safe and successful.

Dr. John Frattarelli and Dr. Anatte Karmon

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