You wipe down all surfaces with alcohol wipes before seeing your next consult—a 14-year-old boy and his 9-year-old sister, both of whom you see annually as part of their regular eye exams. “Everything looks great; both children are doing very well!” you tell their mother after performing a complete optometric exam and dispensing new eyeglass prescriptions. She wants to look at some of the new frames available in your clinic, so you redirect her to your eyewear selection.
The children begin trying on new frames, and you call your next patient —a 61-year-old gentleman whom you follow for regular diabetic eye exams. He coughs dryly into his sleeve and seems out of breath walking toward the clinic room. You are surprised to see him appearing lethargic and under the weather since he is normally very energetic. “Doc, I don’t feel so good: it really hurts to breathe, and I feel my heart beating out of my chest,” he remarks as he falls into the exam chair. Concerned that he may be systemically unwell, you take his temperature which comes out to 39°C (102°F). You are unsure whether it is safe for your patient, clinic staff, and yourself to proceed with the appointment.