Written by Pay Staszak
We are heading into the cold and dark of winter with the virus surging across the county. All of us need to continue following coronavirus safety measures. The good news is that when out doing errands or finding a way to socialize with family and friends it is possible to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
At APT we do this by wearing well-fitted masks, maintaining 6 feet apart, frequent hand washing, improving air flow by opening windows and keeping visits to less than one hour. By layering different methods of protection, we have been unknowingly using what experts have identified as the “swiss cheese” approach to managing the pandemic. Earlier this month the New York Times published a story about the Swiss Cheese model for pandemic defense. This model, which has been used in the safety industry for years,fits well with pandemic control.
As related in the New York Times article, the swiss cheese model is described as ”Multiple layers of protection, imagined as cheese slices, block the spread of the new coronavirus. No one layer is perfect; each has holes, and when the holes align, the risk of infection increases. But several layers combined — social distancing, plus masks, plus hand-washing, plus testing and tracing, plus ventilation, plus government messaging — significantly reduce the overall risk. Vaccination will add one more protective layer.”
This model makes so much sense to me and is a great visual. Through the entire pandemic at APT we have been vigilant with our safety procedures, unknowingly using this layering or “swiss cheese” approach. And we have found that it works – through the entire pandemic APT has not had any exposure to the virus. And this is not unique to our clinic – all health care providers use this approach.
Following the Swiss Cheese Approach to managing the pandemic, Andersonville Physical Therapy utilizes many layers to protect our patients and staff from the coronavirus.
- Mandatory mask policy – Masks must be of high quality and well fitted. If a patient forgets their mask one will be provided.
- Maintain Safe Distances – Treatment stations are 6’ feet apart or have a barrier between stations.
- Mandatory Hand Washing – Patients wash their hands before and after their appointment. Therapists wash hands when arriving at work and between every appointment.
- Air Flow – We utilize a schedule to keep doors open as much as possible, furnace and ceiling fans run continuously and we have 7 air purifiers running in the office.
- Frequent Cleaning of high contact surfaces.
- Follow the City of Chicago’s travel order for patients and staff.
So, If you are going to see friends and family this winter, to keep everyone safe, remember the swiss cheese model. Wear a well fitted mask, maintain 6 feet apart, open the windows or use an air purifier, wash your hands frequently and don’t stay too long. If you are eating, keep your distance from each other and get your masks back on as soon as possible.
APT follows the City of Chicago Covid Guidelines. If you are traveling to a different state please refer to the City of Chicago’s travel order about testing and quarantine requirements upon your return home.