I am very pleased to report that our August clinic was extremely successful despite the constraints and delay the project has experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We safely utilized our recently completed operating rooms and remodeled dental facility for the patients. The pre-clinic planning was extensive and required cooperation of the Board of Directors with our partner Ensenada Rotary clubs. We provided five important surgeries for patients and dental care for an additional 84.
The screening, COVID-19 testing and necessary mitigation strategies were successfully accomplished and a great deal learned, to make future clinics both safer and more efficient.
Currently Baja north is designated “Yellow” under the stoplight system instituted by the Mexican government. I have included an explanation of what this means so that those wishing to participate in upcoming clinics can make informed decisions. We monitor the situation closely and continue to require that only fully vaccinated, (which includes those individuals who require the recommended booster vaccinations) participate. Although we can limit the risk of infection, there continues to be a distinct possibility that travel to Baja and participation in the clinic will result in a COVID-19 exposure. As always, each participant must assess and accept their own personal risk.
- Zero states are designated “red” under the federal stoplight system between September 22 and October 3. Under red, only essential activities are allowed. Essential activities include: the provision of medical services and supplies, grocery delivery services, operation of grocery stores, restaurant delivery and carryout services, assurance of public safety, maintenance of fundamental economic functions and government social programs, work in critical infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing of transportation equipment. Hotels are limited to 25 percent occupancy for guests working on critical activities. Parks are also limited to 25 percent occupancy.
- Four states are designated “orange” under the federal system between September 22 and October 3 (Colima, Morelos, Tabasco, and Tamaulipas). Under orange, hotels, restaurants, barber shops, open-air parks, and gyms are limited to 50 percent capacity. Markets and supermarkets will operate at 75 percent capacity. Additionally, shopping malls, churches, cinemas, theaters, museums, and cultural events will be limited to 25 percent capacity.
- Twenty-four states are designated “yellow” under the federal stoplight system between September 22 and October 3 (Aguascalientes, Baja California, Campeche, Ciudad de México, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de México, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatán, and Zacatecas). Under yellow, all work activities are permitted. Public space may open on a regular basis, while enclosed public spaces can open with reduced capacity. All activities should be carried out with basic prevention measures. People at higher risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms should continue to take extra precautions.
- Four states are designated “green” under the federal stoplight system between September 22 and October 3 (Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Chiapas, and Sinaloa). Under green, all economic and social activities, including school, are permitted while taking appropriate precautions.
- Individuals should practice good hygiene such as frequent hand washing and social distancing.
We plan another regularly scheduled clinic on November 5-6 and anticipate utilizing our facility for both surgeries and dental care. We have put in place a process to continually improve the function and safety of the clinic and our long-term goal of transitioning the current system of paper charts and records to an electronic format is within reach.
In addition, we have initiated a strategic association with Loma Linda Health, whose experience and expertise will certainly provide great benefit to a much larger population in Mexico. We hope to expand both the number and type of services that we provide in the future through this partnership.
Finally, I would like to highlight that although we are not operating as we had in the past, the experiences of the past two years have provided us with opportunities to cooperate and improve our system that might not have been otherwise possible.
The Thousand Smiles Foundation and Board of Directors greatly appreciate your continued support.
Thousand Smiles Board of Directors.
Michael Nussbaum, President