Despite the limitations currently facing us with the COVID-19 pandemic, we
continue our commitment to our patients to make sure they know they cared for
and so they can remain safe. Per the Orange County and subsequent Emergency
Order of Governor Newsom, our office remains closed but we continue to care for
Let us begin with a quick overview of:
- What the disease is
- The scope of the problem
- What OCPS is doing in regards to the pandemic
- The OCPS plan to resume routine business hours and patient access when the pandemic has been controlled
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 for short) is a respiratory illness that is caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The origin of this virus was in bats in China. It spreads between people who are in close proximity with one another (within about 6 feet) through droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by a person touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then having the person touch their mouth, nose, or eyes before washing their hands. A new study has found that the virus can last up to 3 hours in the air, up to 4 hours on copper surfaces, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 72 hours on plastic or stainless steel surfaces.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized this outbreak as a
pandemic – a pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease. Pandemics happen with
the emergence of a new, novel, virus to which there is no preexisting immunity.
People who are infected with COVID-19 can have mild to severe respiratory illness, with fever and cough that can develop into difficulty breathing. Although the elderly with preexisting conditions that weaken their respiratory or immune systems are more likely to succumb from the disease, everyone is at risk for becoming ill with COVID-19, even children and young adults.
The scope of the problem:
The first cases of COVID-19 appeared in late 2019 in China and spread to
neighboring countries. Asian nations have largely contained their outbreaks, yet
the virus has roared across Europe and is now hitting the United States. There
have been nearly 400,000 confirmed cases worldwide and 100,000 people have
recovered after contracting the illness. Globally, 17,159 people have died of
the disease, with Italy recently surpassing China in number of fatalities due to
the illness. 44,000 people in the United States have contracted the disease and
there have been 544 deaths as of this moment. In spite of government crackdowns,
the disease is still spreading rapidly in the United States, but the curves are
flattening in China and Italy.
The consensus among health care experts continues to grow that the best way to defeat the virus is to create social distancing. This can be achieved by ordering nonessential businesses to shut down, eliminating public gatherings and by having residents confine themselves to their homes. State and local governments in some areas of the United States are entering Week 2 of efforts to contain the spread by shuttering large swaths of the economy. Orange County issued a lockdown initiative one week ago and Governor Newsom did the same for the entire State of California a few days later, mandating an emergency shutdown of nonessential services for 30 days. This is having some effect on slowing the spread of the pandemic, but the economy has been hit hard. Stocks have dropped by 34%. Morgan Stanley is predicting a 30% shrinkage of our economy in the second quarter, and unemployment to rise to 13% - both records in modern economic statistics.
OCPS Response to the Pandemic:
Our first concern is our patients and staff member health and safety. Even before
the county and state mandated emergency health directives, we screened patients
on the phone prior to their arrival at our facility, inquired about any recent
illnesses, travel and fever – this policy will remain in effect for the
We pay attention to the recommendations for social distancing and, of course wash our hands before and after every patient contact, antiseptic cleansing of surfaces, wearing masks when appropriate, antiseptic care of patient hands on arrival and leaving – and yes, these procedures will remain in effect after the pandemic passes. I am pleased to say that none of our patients, staff or anyone at the Orange County Surgery Center has contracted the disease. While nonessential services in our practice have been shut down – first by the OC directive, and subsequently by the State Emergency Order – we continue to see patients on an urgent basis as needed. I am available by cell phone or by e-mail on a 24 hour basis for patients with questions or problems.
I have instituted a telemedicine consultation service online through https://doxy.me/drbunkis - just please call me in advance to set up a time when we can chat. (Just click on this link to use doxy.me after you call to alert me, and your name will pop up on my screen that you are waiting to talk to me). Save this link in your favorites or contacts. This service can be used for follow-up patients as well as new consultations.
OCPS Plans for the Future:
We will reopen our office when it is safe to do so for you, our patients, and for
I expect us to be stronger than ever in the future and to continue to provide 5 star service to our clients.
Anyone who has put a deposit down for a procedure will be able to have that procedure as soon as it is safe to do so. We will catch up on all of our follow-up visits and arrange for patients to come in for any missed or due treatments with extended hours as necessary.
Stay safe, everybody!