I appreciated the time that Dr. Mizell took to meet with us and chat, not only about orthodontic procedures but also conversation to get to know him as a person, beyond his profession.
Important Notice #1 - Dated March 15, 2020
Dear Patients and Friends,
I apologize for the late notice but my office will be closed this week, March 16th through March 20th. We will be available to see patients with emergencies if need be.
I just learned at 5:00 PM on Sunday, March 15th that one of my patients tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The patient was tested two days ago and learned the positive result a short time ago. In order to be as transparent as possible, I want you all to know that this patient was in my office on March 4th at 2:00 for an appointment. He was the first patient after lunch and he was in the chair for five minutes, not many other patients were in the office while he was there.
Fortunately, me and our entire staff have been symptom free for the last 11 days since the patient was in my office. I spoke with the patient’s physician today and he feels the patient most likely contracted the virus after he was in my office, but it is impossible to be certain. Therefore, due to an abundance of caution, I have decided to not see patients this week.
Several things I want you all to know:
We practice CDC recommended procedures for sterilizing and disinfecting all instruments and patient occupied surfaces for every patient visit. We have been especially careful since the outbreak of COVID-19 a few weeks ago. Including wiping down non-clinical areas as often as possible. This virus is easily killed by those procedures.
As I mentioned above, me and the entire staff have been symptom free since that patient was in 11 days ago.
My physician felt it is best for me and my staff to not see patients until we have been symptom free for two weeks, which will be Wednesday. However, to be as cautious as possible we will close all week. If we all remain symptom free for what will then be 18 or 19 days, we will consider whether or not we will see patients the week of March 23rd. We will send another mass email next weekend to let you know.
There will be a skeleton staff in the office this week to handle emergencies and answer the phones. We will also be calling to reschedule the patients who will miss appointments this week.
Interestingly, this patient’s only symptoms have been a stopped up sinuses. No fever, no aches or pains, no flu like symptoms. The patient suffers from allergy problems and it was assumed his symptoms were due to allergies.
Thanks for understanding my decision to take an abundance of caution and close the office this entire week. We will update you at the end of the week. For those with appointments scheduled this week, expect a call over the next few days to reschedule your appointment in 2 or 3 weeks.
Warmest regards and best wishes to all,
Notice #2 - Dated March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020. 3:30 PM
Dear Valued Patients and Friends,
Many of you have very recently received an email from me that we initiated Sunday night about 7:30. The amount of email addresses included caused problems for my computer system. I am now sending this update so please read this as well. The IT folks told me this should get out to everyone in about 3 hours. Please read update below.
After getting advice to be sure I am adhering to HIPPA laws and government regulations, I can now provide you with an update on the patient that was in my office March 4th who tested positive for COVID-19. As I explained in my email last night, his test was administered Friday, March 13th, and the results came back positive yesterday afternoon, March 15th.
The patient involved is my son. He no longer lives at home and in the last 5 weeks my wife and I have been with him one time. That was on March 4th when we visited with him for about 25 minutes with no contact. After our meeting he came to my office for an impression. (Yes, my grown kids lose retainers too.) He was the first patient after lunch at 2:00 on March 4th. He did not sit in the waiting room nor did he have to check in or check out. He was in the chair for 5-10 minutes for an impression and left. As with all patients, sterilization and disinfecting procedures were followed for his appointment.
To be sure I am clear, my wife and I have only seen him once in five weeks and that was from about 1:25 – 1:50 on March 4th. My wife and I have been symptom free for the 12 days since then. Just as importantly, my entire staff has been symptom free 12 days. It is quite possible that my son did not contract the virus until after we saw him March 4th but that cannot be certain.
As I mentioned in last night’s email, my son has not had any flu like symptoms. No fever, no cough, no aches, no shortness of breath. He had congestion that he assumed was due to his allergies. He went to the doctor to see if he had a sinus infection and might need antibiotics. The doctor felt it was allergy related as he did have a sinus infection. However, his doctor decided to test him for COVID-19 anyway. He found out late yesterday, March 15th, he was positive. Fortunately, he feels totally fine and his wife has been symptom free. No one he has been in contact with in the last 2 weeks has had any symptoms. He and his wife are quarantined at home. Harris County authorities told him last night that his sample will be sent in for retesting and confirmation.
Important information to know:
- The medical advice I have received was for us to not see patients until me and the entire staff have been symptom free for two weeks, which will be this Wednesday. However, in an abundance of caution, we will not see patients all week, March 16 – March 20th. If me and the entire staff remain symptom free for 19 days, we will consider whether or not to see patients next week. We will send a notice as soon as those decisions are made.
- My wife and I, and the two staff members that attended to my son on March 4th , are following the CDC recommended protocol for self-quarantine.
- There will be staff members in the offices answering the phones, rescheduling patient’s appointments and seeing emergencies. If you have an emergency the staff are happy to see you and take care of the problem. Hours are 8:00 – 4:00.
- If you are scheduled for a retainer delivery, the staff will still see you and deliver your retainer. Similarly, if you lose a retainer the staff will see you to take an impression for a new one.
- These are interesting times to be sure. We thank you for understanding our desire to be as cautious as possible and not see patients this week. All of us, as well as the medical community, learn more about this pandemic every day. I will stay informed on the latest information and guidelines and make all decisions based on doing what is best and safest for you and your families.
- We will post the two emails and any other pertinent information on our website, DrMizell.com. We will also send texts as necessary alerting you to watch for emails or postings on the website. I do not intend to overwhelm your inboxes and phones with too many correspondences, but I feel it is important to provide you with up to date, factual information.
Thank you for your friendship and understanding. Warmest regards.
Notice #3 - Dated March 18, 2020
MARCH 18, 2020
Dear Patients and Friends,
Please read this in its entirety.
It is with great relief that I can report to you that as of 2:00 PM on March 18, 2020, my staff and I have remained free of COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days. The current CDC and scientific information suggest we can assume we did not contract COVID-19 nor could we have been contagious from our exposure on March 4, 2020.
For those of you reading this that may not be aware, we had a patient in our office on March 4, 2020 that tested positive for COVID-19 from a sample taken on March 13th. Three of my staff and I had exposure within 6 feet of the patient that day. He was in the office for 5-10 minutes. He did not check in or check out and was in the chair for an impression. All CDC recommended sterilization and disinfecting protocol was followed for his visit as it is for all patients.
I cannot tell you how difficult it was for me to have to send that news to you earlier this week. You all are my patients but more importantly I consider you all my friends. My family and staff share those same sentiments. I know how much anxiety the news created for all of you who were in my office on March 4th and in the days that followed. I am sorry I had to be the one to create that stress for you. I hope the news that we have been symptom free for 14 days brings you relief.
As you know, I decided to close my office to non-essential procedures this entire week due to the exposure. Now I am left with the decision of what we will do in the weeks to come. Thankfully, that decision does not have to be based on our exposure but on what is prudent moving forward for the safety of our patients, my team and our community.
On March 17, 2020 the American Dental Society and the American Association of Orthodontists recommended that all non-essential dental procedures be cancelled until the end of March. Dr Deborah Birx from the White House Task Force issued the same recommendation. Given the nature of an orthodontic clinic, social distancing, and the recommendations noted above, I believe it is in the best interest of all of us to close our office to non-essential appointments next week, March 23 through March 27, 2020. Pending what we learn next week that may very well be extended.
Please know that there is staff available in the office during normal office hours manning the phones to answer questions and schedule appointments to take care of emergencies and broken or lost retainer issues. Like retainers, we are also able to hand out Invisalign aligners for those patients already in active Invisalign treatment. When you come for those appointments we are required to follow CDC guidelines for screening patients before being seen to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure. I apologize in advance for that inconvenience but trust you understand those policies.
For those of you with appointments next week, we will begin calling you Thursday, March 19th, to be sure you received this notice. Unfortunately, we will not be able to schedule a new appointment until we know when we will return to business as usual. However, we will reschedule appointments in the order in which they have been cancelled. Beginning with appointments cancelled March 16th and moving forward in order. Once we resume, we will do everything we can to expand our schedule in order to reschedule missed appointments as soon as possible.
Once again, I regret having to send this new cancellation news. Many of you were scheduled to have braces removed. I know everyone else wants to keep their progress on pace to get their braces off ASAP. We understand those issues and promise to do everything we can to make up ground as quickly as we can. I know you all understand we are in unchartered waters and learning more every day. I will continue to send out notices as soon as there is anything you need to know. As mentioned before our email system is disappointingly slow so we will send text messages alerting you to coming emails and to go to our website to read these messages.
My family, staff and I appreciate the love, support and encouragement many of you have offered this week. You can only imagine how much it means to us and lifts our spirits. Best wishes and blessings from all of us to all of you.
Notice #4 – Dated March 23, 2020
PRACTICE HOURS UPDATE
MARCH 23, 2020
My staff and I hope you and your families are doing well and managing to cope with the life we are experiencing in our community and world. Fortunately, we are all doing well here in the office and so are our families. Please read the important announcement below.
Governor Abbott issued two executive orders yesterday, March 22nd. One of them mandated that ALL dental offices in the state of Texas be closed to non-essential procedures through midnight on April 21st. That means that by law I can only see emergency patients. To further clarify, we can see patients that are in pain from broken appliances or poking wires. We can also see patients with retainer problems and for delivery of Invisalign aligners for patients in active treatment. I have staff in the office Monday through Thursday from 8:00 – 4:00 and Friday mornings from 8:00 – noon. Please call if you have any questions or have an emergency.
We were originally closed this week because the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists and the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners all recommended we close to non-essential procedures. Now we proceed to be closed due to the Governors Executive Order. I understand that all my patients want their orthodontic treatment to progress in a timely manner and to finish treatment ASAP. I want the same for each of you. I hope there is positive movement fighting the COVID virus in our community so that the Governor can lift his mandate sooner than April 21st. Once we resume seeing patients, we will expand our hours each week until we get everyone back on track. We will contact patients for rescheduling in the order in which we had to cancel appointments.
We sincerely wish we could see you guys. We miss our orthodontic family very much. I can tell you my personality was not built to enjoy social distancing very well. We will continue to keep you posted as new information comes available. I am sorry for inundating you with so many emails and texts but I want to be sure you are up to date.
Best wishes and blessings from all of us to all of you.
For more than 29 years, Dr. Mizell has been providing high quality and compassionate orthodontic care to Houston families. We look forward to helping you achieve your best smile.
It is always a welcoming, warm environment. Appointment times are generally kept on or close to scheduled times. AND, my orthodontics work is well done.
I’ve always said that the overall attitude in a business starts at the top. Dr. Mizell does excellent work and he somehow makes what could be a negative experience pleasant and even fun.
Dr. Mizell is absolutely fantastic! Every person I talk to that has been his patient has the most perfect smile and only the best things to say about him as a person and Orthodontist.