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Maryland veterinary clinic using 'curbside check-in' to stem coronavirus

No Comments National News

Becky Perlow/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Amid the closure of restaurants and restrictions on nursing homes, veterinary practices are also starting to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One clinic in Maryland is taking steps to slow the spread of the virus by offering its clients curbside check-in to keep both its staff and its human clients safe and healthy.

“There’s no way to be able to see a dog (or) cat from home,” explained Laila Bolsteins, a vet technician at the Laytonsville Veterinary Practice in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“So the best we can do is see the animal without the people present, just to reduce some of that human contact,” she said.

The clinic instituted the new protocol on Tuesday, instructing its clients to call or text when they arrive. Veterinary staffers then meet the animal’s owner at their car and bring the animal inside, where, Bolsteins said, the appointment continues on as normal.

Well, almost normal.

“Hello?” asked Dr. Claire Godwin as she began to examine a small black and white Schnauzer on her exam table.

“Hello!” responded a deep, scratchy voice from a cell phone speaker sitting a few inches away. The voice belonged to Donald Mowbray, who was sitting just outside the building in his silver sedan.

“Hi Mr. Mowbray, how are you?” asked Dr. Goodwin, as she began to inspect the dog’s ears and teeth.

“Fine, Dr. Godwin. It’s good to hear from you,” responded Mowbray over the phone.

Bolsteins said that having pet owners speak to the doctors while they wait outside keeps them apprised during the examination, which helps them feel like they’re in the room with their pet.

“[They] can talk through any issues they might be having, or why they are here for the appointment … as well as any after-appointment thoughts, if they need any refills on medication or if they need any other appointments scheduled,” said Bolsteins.

Mowbray, who at 82 years old is at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, said he is impressed that the veterinary practice is working hard to keep him safe.

And because “we’re not in with the doctor,” said Mowbray, that allows the staff members to keep themselves safe too.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control said they had not received any reports of pets or other animals contracting the COVID-19 virus, but cautioned that further research is necessary to understand how animals could be affected.

“Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus,” the AVMA posted on its website. “Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.”

To protect themselves and their furry clients, the Maryland clinic’s staff is taking steps to limit cross-contamination. But just like doctors and nurses who treat humans, staffers there are running into equipment supply issues.

“We are trying to be much less wasteful, while still being cautious of not spreading germs,” explained Bolsteins.”So we tried to switch up which sprays we’re using, like bleach, and then specific cleaners for the cages.”

“And we try to waste a little less in terms of masks for humans. We try to label them, write our name on them, so we can keep our own little personal stash of things that are safe to use,” she added. “It’s just been something to keep in the back of our minds that we don’t have necessarily an unlimited amount of resources like we have had in the past.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Bride and florist team up to donate flowers after postponing wedding due to coronavirus concerns

No Comments National News

Angela Mandigo(NEW YORK) — When a bride’s big day was canceled because of coronavirus concerns, her and her florist teamed up to create a silver lining by spreading joy to others.

Keali Lay, 28, and her fiancé Jeff Scheider, 31, got engaged on Labor Day weekend and were set to have their wedding ceremony on March 21 in Bluffton, South Carolina. The cake, flowers and DJ were ready to go, but after President Donald Trump encouraged no gatherings larger than 10 people, Lay’s venue called to cancel the ceremony,

“I was really, really upset, but I had known deep down that this was going to happen,” Lay said. “We’d rather have our big day later and make sure everyone is safe. I was really, really emotional. We were just sad.”

Now just five days out from their wedding, Lay set out to call her vendors and inform them that she had to cancel. She especially wanted to reach out to her florist, Angela Mandigo, because she knew her flowers had likely already come in — which meant the company would be losing money.

Lay called Mandigo and informed her the wedding had been postponed. Not wanting the flowers to go to waste, Mandigo suggested that Lay donate the flowers to people in the community who may need cheering up.

“She was so grateful they weren’t going to be thrown away,” Mandigo said. “I asked her if we could donate them to make somebody happy and she said, ‘Absolutely.’ She was ecstatic.”

The flowers were donated to several different people. One woman gave them to her friend who just found out she had colon cancer, another gave the flowers to her mom, who was coming out of the hospital, and another donation went to a woman who wanted to uplift the spirits of the people in her office who were working throughout the coronavirus concerns.

“It makes me feel a little better that this horrible thing has happened, [but] that something happy is coming out of it,” Lay said.

Lay said her and Scheider will still get married on Saturday in an intimate ceremony with immediate family and friends near the water at Scheider’s parent’s home. Since their pastor would be unable to travel down for the ceremony, the best man got ordained online this week and will be marrying them.

Mandigo will also still bring a bouquet and a boutonniere for the bride and groom free of charge, just out of the kindness of her heart.

Lay said they will have another ceremony with all of their friends and family at a later date.

“The important thing is that we will still be married on that day we said we would and also have a bonus ‘fun-iversary’ for the later day,” Lay said.

Mandigo said when her flower shop finishes arrangements for the few weddings they have left, they will work on making flowers for the nurses at nearby hospitals to get them through this time.

“I’m hoping as other flower shops and brides see this they will give back to the community and lift their spirits,” Mandigo said.

While weddings all around the world get postponed due to coronavirus concerns, Lay encouraged fellow bridges to look at the bigger picture.

“You’ve already accomplished the best part of getting married, which is finding your partner and best friend,” Lay said. “A wedding is just a big party, but marriage is so much more than that.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Teacher writes 100 letters to her students after school shuts down for the year due to coronavirus concerns

No Comments National News

Victoria Bay(ANDOVER, Kan.) — A Kansas middle school teacher found a heartwarming way to let her students to know that even though she won’t be seeing them every day in her classroom, she is thinking about them.

Victoria Bay, 29, teaches sixth grade Social Studies at Andover Central Middle School in Andover, Kansas. This week, she and her students were on spring break when the school district made the call to stop sending kids to school for the remainder of the school year due to coronavirus concerns.

“We are on spring break so when I left my kids I told them I would miss them this week and I would see them soon,” Bay said. “Knowing that they would never get to be in my classroom and be my students again was honestly devastating and heartbreaking.”

Bay said her group of sixth graders were a “really special group of kids” and when she realized she wouldn’t get to give a proper goodbye to her students, she wanted to do something special.

Hours after she heard the news, Bay bought paper and one hundred envelopes. She sent a letter to each of her students to let them know how thankful she was to be their teacher and that she would miss them.

“I wanted them to know that I instantly thought of them in that moment that [school] was canceled and I’m so thankful for the memories that we created together,” Bay said. “I am really thankful for them and I wanted them to know that they’d be on my mind.”

Bay typed out a general letter for all 100 of her students and then added a handwritten personalized note to each letter with a memory or a thank you to each kid. She sent them two days after the news broke that the school year was over.

While not being able to teach her kids has weighed heavily on Bay, she says she is able to get through this tough time thanks to a shift in mindset.

“I create learning experiences in my classroom, do characters, do room transformations and knowing that my students won’t be able to experience these things is hard,” she said. “I’ve been trying to shift my mindset from all the things I’m going to miss doing to all the new opportunities I have to build new opportunities for my kids.”

As for students, Bay has a message for all of them during this confusing and difficult time.

“Your teachers care about you and we have your best interest in mind,” Bay said. “We are going to do whatever it takes to make the rest of your school year the best it can be regardless of what it looks like.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

“It’s a hard day today”: In tearful video, Zac Brown says he had to lay off 90% of his crew

No Comments Country Music News

Diego PerníaThe Zac Brown Band has had to postpone the spring leg of The Owl Tour due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the group’s frontman, Zac Brown, says that the lack of work has forced him to lay off the vast majority of his crew. 

“It’s a hard day today,” the singer says in an Instagram post, reflecting that many of his crew members have been with the band for 15 years, and that at this point, they’re like members of his family. 

“The people I high-five way off to the side of the stage, and the people who have done their jobs and done them well,” Zac says in the emotional video. “I hate having to make this call, but I can’t generate out there and I can’t tour because of the coronavirus and everyone’s safety.”

He then turned his attention to those who are continuing to gather in groups, imploring them to take the virus seriously.

“The sickness has just begun here. It’s just started to rear its head,” the singer emphasized. “So you need to wake up, you need to stay indoors and you need to try to socially distance yourself.”

He also held the U.S. government accountable for the spread of the virus, telling fans that they won’t be able to rely on the government to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“We’re late to the game on this. I’m pretty ashamed of the way that our leadership’s handled all this,” he continued.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Brooks & Dunn push their 2020 Reboot Tour to this fall

No Comments Country Music News

The Green Room PRLegendary country duo Brooks & Dunn were set to kick off their first tour together in a decade this spring, but the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has changed their plans. They’ve announced that they’ll be pushing their tour until early fall 2020.

The trek will now kick off on August 28 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and run through October. The 2020 Reboot Tour was initially scheduled to launch in mid-May. 

All tickets purchased for the original lineup will be honored for the newly rescheduled dates, and any fans who haven’t had a chance to pick up tickets can do so –and see the new tour schedule — on Brooks & Dunn’s website.

They also updated their fans on social media.

“For the health and safety of our fans, our crew and the venues, we are postponing our Reboot 2020 Tour,” they wrote.

The duo is one of an enormous number of acts of all musical genres who’ve postponed tours or events as a result of the virus’ spread. As a way of keeping connected with their fans, many artists have started doing live-streamed performances over social media.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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