Meeting the challenges of COVID 19

March 24, 2020

In an effort to keep our community informed about measures we are taking to limit the transmission of COVID-19, University Health System will provide regular updates on our ongoing response to this unprecedented situation.

The practices we are implementing reflect our highest priority, which is the health and safety of our staff, patients and the community. To that end, here’s the latest:

Thanks for the support:

So many wonderful people in the community have reached out to us offering to donate masks for our healthcare providers. We cannot express how grateful we are for these generous offers. At this time, we do not have a shortage of supplies, however, we are monitoring usage very carefully to assure consistent and appropriate use of all personal protective equipment. Since we cannot predict the number of patients we may see in our hospital and clinics in the coming days and weeks, if members of our community have brand new masks in their original packaging they would like to donate to us, we would be honored to accept them. Our Foundation is accepting the donations of the new masks and can be reached at 210-358-9860.

Clinic consolidation:

We are in the process of temporarily closing and consolidating some clinic operations. Many appointments can be handled by phone and a lot of our patients are already doing that. For those who need to come in, we will see different groups of patients at different locations, and in some cases will have them use separate entrances – for instance, expecting mothers will have a separate entrance from the general public when they go to their appointments at the downtown Robert B. Green campus. This will allow us to reduce potential COVID-19 exposure to the community and our healthcare workers, as well as allow us to reduce the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE. We will post the changes in hours and locations as soon as we have finalized them.

CareLink message:

For our CareLink members close to renewal, we are extending contracts for 60 days. The CareLink offices at this time are not taking walk-ins or making in-person appointments. For questions about current memberships or new enrollments, please call 210-358-3350. To make a payment on your CareLink account please call 210-358-3353.

Processing COVID-19 samples in-house:

We have worked with our UT Health San Antonio partners to begin processing samples in the University Health System lab for COVID-19. This processing started today on a limited basis. It is vitally important for the public to understand the difference between collecting samples and processing samples. University Health System and UT Health San Antonio patients who meet the criteria for testing will have a sample collected and then sent to our lab for processing. Today’s announcement means that University Health System now has the capability to process these samples in our lab.

Samples processed at the University Health System lab will be for our healthcare workers and for patients at University Hospital. This process will allow us to get results back more quickly, so healthcare workers who test negative are able to more quickly get back to work serving our community, and the sickest patients in the hospital will get their diagnosis sooner.

We are very proud and grateful to the dedicated professionals at University Health System and UT Health San Antonio who have worked tirelessly for the past several weeks to standup this capability so very quickly.

Continued Practices:

We continue to screen everyone, including staff, before they enter University Health System facilities. At the hospital, that includes taking their temperature and ensuring it does not exceed 100 degrees.

We restrict in-person meetings to six or fewer people, require social distancing and have converted most meetings to teleconferences and/or web meetings.

We encourage anyone in need of updated information about best practices during this time of coronavirus to visit our blog, HealthFocusSA.net, or our website, UniversityHealthSystem.com/COVID19.

You’ll find information on recognizing COVID-19 symptoms, testing procedures, how to talk to your kids about the virus and topics aimed at helping families protect themselves and others.