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Local physicians utilizing high-tech house calls during Covid-19 crisis

Posted at 7:29 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 10:29:11-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelms the health care industry, family doctors are finding new ways to treat patients.

The in-person checkup now usually involves masks, gloves and gowns, but many physicians are switching to high-tech house calls.

Doctors and assistants at Centennial Medical Group in Bakersfield are even telling anyone with potential symptoms of Covid-19 to avoid coming to their offices, but instead, to head to a testing facility like Accelerated Urgent Care. "Our front office staff doesn't have a lot of protective gear," said Dr. Larry Yokoyama, "and if they did, we'd run out of supplies very quickly."

Dr. Y has been practicing tele-medicine over the internet, utilizing Zoom, to meet with patients face-to-face while they self-isolate.

And, he needs to maintain that distance as much as possible. Dr. Yokoyama is in the high risk category for Covid-19. "I'm immune compromised, suffering renal (kidney) failure, heart disease," said Yokoyama, "I'm 65 with medical problems, so I'm at increased risk for catching whatever is out there."

Larry said his wife wants him to start curtailing his practice, but he responded saying it's who he is. "On video they can see me smile, laugh, and I can tell them to take care, and I love you," said Dr. Y, "the personal connection is still there."

And that, he said will always be the cornerstone of his practice.