COVID-19 Information

Reopening Information

Yesterday, Governor Northam announced he will not extend the Order of Public Health Emergency Two which he signed on March 25 which temporarily banned all elective procedures (that require PPE) at Virginia physician offices and will be allowed to expire by midnight tonight. Based on the Governor’s action, doctors of optometry can resume essential patient care beyond emergencies. Doctors should evaluate the necessity of the care based on clinical needs and prioritize care and high-complexity chronic disease management; however, select preventive services may also be highly necessary.

Please understand and consider the AOA has confirmed twice with the CDC COVID-19 Response Division that the CDC’s March 17 recommendation to postpone routine eye care is no longer in affect and that CMS’s specific guidance on reopening facilities takes precedent. This is not an allowance to pre-COVID business as usual. You are responsible for keeping your patients and staff as safe as possible. With that in mind, the VOA suggests you only open your doors once you have the proper PPE and protocols in place to do so safely and responsibly. Please read and understand the posted CMS, AOA, and VOA guidelines on reopening your office. Please feel free to reach out to the VOA Office for any further questions.



Does the VOA have any PPE resources available?

A: The VOA does not have any PPE to give to members; however, PPE can be found on our PPE Resources page. Also, you should sign up for the AOA GPO which may be getting PPE soon. We are also in contact with local and state emergency offices for PPE guidance.

Do I have to report COVID-19 cases?

16 VAC 25-220-40.B.8.e of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) provides that “The employer shall notify the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) within 24 hours of the discovery of three (3) or more employees present at the place of employment within a 14-day period testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus during that 14-day time period.”

COVID-19 case reports must be filed through the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) online reporting portal. By using this portal, these case reports will ensure VDH and DOLI reporting compliance. The new online reporting portal allows employers to submit up to 10 Covid-19 positive cases.


Effective December 8, 2020, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), has determined that employers no longer need to report single COVID-19 positive cases to VDH, in order to comply with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) program’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19.

However, after the initial report of outbreak (two or more cases), employers shall continue to report all cases to VDH until the local health department notifies the business that the outbreak has been closed.

After the outbreak is closed, subsequent identification of two or more cases of COVID-19 during a declared emergency shall be reported, as above.


Do you have any guidance for Healthcare Professionals?

The CDC updated guidance for healthcare professionals on August 10.

For HCP who were suspected of having COVID-19 and had it ruled out, either with at least one negative test or a clinical decision that COVID-19 is not suspected and testing is not indicated, then return to work decisions should be based on their other suspected or confirmed diagnoses.

Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says that Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Most people with COVID-19 can be ‘released’ from isolation and can be around others after: 

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and
  • Other symptoms are improving. (Note: the loss of taste or smell might persist for weeks or months after recovery and this should not delay the end of isolation) 

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but never had any symptoms, you can be around others after 10 days have passed since the first positive diagnostic test.



VDH Infection Prevention  12/10/2020

VDH Guidance for Assessing & Managing Exposed, Asymptomatic Healthcare Personnel 12/10/2020

CDC Information for Healthcare Professionals 12/10/2020

CMS Guidance on Reopening 4/19/2020

VOA - The Path Forward - Guidance to Resuming Practice 4/27/2020

Reporting a Positive Coronavirus Case – Report a positive Coronavirus case, as well as a fatality or serious injury

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources – COVID-19 reference material including links to the standard, reporting information, OSHA and other external reference links, training material and contact information.

Proposed Permanent Standard – The Department of Labor and Industry Announces Intent to Adopt a Permanent Standard 16VAC25-220 for the Virus That Causes COVID-19.

All three posted 12/10/2020

Sample Reopening Checklist

Please see above for the VOA's full Guidance to Resuming Practice


  • Masks for all employees, N95 or KN95 recommended1
  • Cloth or surgical masks for all patients. Have surgical masks available for emergencies, but consider rescheduling if patients cannot bring their own.1
  • Hand sanitizer for staff and patients. Consider having patients either wash hands or use hand sanitizer upon entrance into office. (optional)
  • Breath shields for slit lamp (optional)
  • Eye shields (optional)

Cleaning Protocol

  • Disinfectant for equipment, door knobs, etc. Purchase or make your own using 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water and let stand 1 minute.1
  • Disinfect all eyewear if a patient tries them on.3
    • Dish soap and water, 50/50 hydrogen peroxide bath, alcohol, or UV sanitation can work.

Personnel / Patient Flow

  • Screen staff before each work day1
  • Pre-screen patients before they arrive1
  • Take patient temperature upon arrival and note in chart2
  • Continue telemedicine encounters whenever possible1
  • Use contactless payments if possible (pay online or Apple Pay, etc)
  • Limit in-office encounters to patients only or 1 parent/guardian for adolescents.1
  • Social distance enforcement for staff and patients at all times in the office.1

Note: enforcing usage of all PPE for staff and patients is up to each practice's discretion, but to reduce your liability, please read and understand the guidance documents from CDC, CMS, AOA, and VOA.


The following slides may assist Optometry offices in seeing urgent patients during COVID.  posted with permission from Tusculum University

Avoiding Viral Transmission

4461 Cox Road
Suite 110
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Phone: (804) 643-0309
Fax: (804) 643-0311

All doctor members of the Virginia Optometric Association are licensed to practice Optometry in Virginia.

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