Rapid Development and Deployment of Respiratory Evaluation Clinics in Response to the COVID-19
The world as we knew it changed at the beginning of 2020 with the explosion of the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, a.k.a. COVID-19. As of January 10, 2021, the novel coronavirus has infected over 89 million people worldwide and killed over 1.9 million. In the U.S., there have been 22 million people infected and 373,000 deaths. It has never been more important to protect our vulnerable patients and staff from infectious disease, especially during the time they spend in our offices and clinics. It quickly became apparent that there was a need for a dedicated location where patients could be seen that were too ill to be evaluated via telemedicine, but not ill enough to be sent to the Emergency Department (ED). To fill this need, our primary care network developed the Respiratory Evaluation Clinic (REC) concept. These were two geographical locations where the outlying clinics could send potentially infectious patients to evaluate and test COVID-19. Some recommendations, adaptations, lessons learned and the REC clinics' expansions to other locations throughout our network are discussed.