OCC’s epidemiologist is closely monitoring the COVID-19 status and is actively issuing updates as they are available. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are the most trusted sources online. While the CDC has announced new mask protocols for vaccinated individuals, there will be no changes for our office protocols for patients, guests, and staff members as the announcement does not apply to hospitals or medical facilities. Masks are still a requirement for all patients, guests and staff at our facility.
As we reinitiate weight loss surgery, we are continually adapting and installing new and updated safety measures.
Weight loss surgery is medically necessary.
Bariatric surgery and the clash of two pandemics.
Major metabolic and bariatric surgery experts around the world are now calling for bariatric and metabolic surgery’s safe resumption before the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over.
The sooner a patient undergoes bariatric surgery, the quicker obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases can be reduced or resolved as they are chronic and progressive. More than 40 diseases are linked to obesity, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and at least 13 different cancer types.
A recent statement from the ASMBS says, “Before COVID-19 began, it was clear that patients with obesity were ‘safer through surgery.’ In the era of COVID-19, ‘safer through surgery’ for patients with obesity may prove to be even more important than before.” Obesity and Metabolic syndrome have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes including death among COVID-19 patients.
Current COVID-19 Protocols
Fully Vaccinated Patients: All vaccinated patients with proof of completed vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to arrival date – no pre-travel COVID-19 testing is required. Must send proof of vaccinations (copy of completed vaccination card with dates) at least 7 days prior to surgery. Please click here for more info.
Non-Vaccinated or partially vaccinated patients need to have a PCR or antigen test with a negative result (rapid testing is acceptable) 7-10 days before travel, with results to OCC at least 24 hours before travel from the lab. Patients with positive or negative IgG antibody tests can travel without further testing. Patients with positive PCR, antigen or IgM antibody tests can not travel to OCC but will be able to reschedule their surgery > 1 month after the result date, provided they are fully vaccinated, test negative for COVID, or receive a positive or negative IgG antibody test. Please click here for more info.
Final approval – All Patients will be required to have Abbot ID NOW molecular testing upon arrival, which will be performed at OCC by our chemist-pharmacy-biologist staff, for a fee of $150 US Dollars in Cash paid to OCC on surgery day.
All patients must arrive no later than 11am the day before surgery for pre-operative and COVID-19 testing.
Please send your Vaccination card, COVID-19 Test results, or any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
For Our US Patients:
While, the COVID vaccine is still new, we have received several vaccinated patients, who have had no problem at all with their tests.
There is no indication that the land border crossing from Mexico back into the US is requiring any COVID testing to re-enter the US.
Patients who require follow-up testing before their return home can arrange that through our office. We will conduct the test two days before their return home. Please see the OCC Covid-19 Protocol packet for more information on pre-arrival and pre-operative COVID Testing requirements.
For Our Canadian Patients:
Canadians will need to take a PCR test within 72 hours of re-entry to Canada. We can schedule the test at our front desk at OCC during that time frame. Results must be uploaded to the ARRIVECAN app and must show that it is a PCR test.
Canadian travelers are also now required to take a COVID-19 test at the airport and may need to quarantine in a nearby hotel for three days at their expense. Canadian customs will require a detailed, 14-day quarantine plan upon re-entry. OCC suggests you download the ARRIVECAN app on your phone before starting your journey.
Patients should make sure they are staying up-to-date on all changes or updates to the requirements for their return home.
Obesity Control Center Covid-19 Safety and Best Practices
As the Covid-19 pandemic evolves, OCC closely monitors research and scientific publications as well as national and international regulatory mandates and advisories. We accordingly adopt and implement safety protocols and best practices. The following is a summary of some of the measures that have been implemented to protect the patients’ wellbeing as well as that of our staff:
- Telehealth pre-screening
- Pre-travel testing
- Enhanced travel safety measures
- Transport and Hotel assurance of best practices
- Arrival and Admission limited interaction
- Abbot ID NOW molecular testing of all patients being admitted to OCC
- Rigorous screening and testing of all OCC staff
- Enhanced disinfection and cleaning protocols
- All OCC staff are exclusive to OCC facility
- Extremely limited access to OCC facility to third party providers, family, and visitors.
- Screening and regular testing of third party providers
- Facility improvements to air circulation including:
- Single flow redirect of airflow/recirculation through the N100 filtration system
- Enhanced air curtain flow in operating suites
- Full use of personal protection equipment at every level
These are some of the long lists of the safety measures that are now part of the OCC best practices in dealing with Covid-19 and weight loss surgery.