Meeting the challenges of COVID 19

March 26, 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:

We'd like to start by expressing our gratitude to all news media who have worked so hard to keep the public informed. Good, factual communication is crucial to helping our community navigate this crisis. We are committed to keeping you as informed as possible in this fast-changing situation. However, numbers without context – as in, how many beds, masks, ventilators will actually be needed to care for those who get seriously ill in the coming days and weeks ahead – are not really helpful.

So, to help keep things in perspective, we’ve created an overall quick-check status report for you.

Here is a current situation on a scale of: Good, OK, Concerning, Crisis

Supplies – OK

At this time, we do not have a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). The health and safety of our amazing and dedicated healthcare workers is our priority, as we can’t care for patients without them. They are our frontline defense against COVID-19. We are carefully monitoring the use of these critical resources, and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines for consistent and appropriate use of things like masks and gowns. Our procurement department is working everyday purchase additional PPE supplies.

Additionally, there are national shortages in the supply of swabs to collect samples for testing, and also in the materials required to test those samples, so we are also working hard to find outlets to purchase these supplies.

Operations - GOOD

Today at University Hospital we have about 620 beds and our current census is actually low largely because elective surgeries are being postponed.

We have a plan to expand our ability to care for more patients should we begin to see a surge of symptomatic patients. This includes a tent in front of the Emergency Department as well as certain areas of the hospital being converted into ICU and negative pressure rooms. Even as we do this work, we continue to care for patients who have experienced trauma, heart attacks and other illnesses and injuries. Our cancer patients are still getting their infusions, and the infusion center staff has implemented new practices to ensure social distancing.

In our outpatient clinics, we have consolidated operations and transitioned a large number of these visits into telephone appointments.

We are still accepting blood donations, and have implemented new social distancing protocols as well as requiring donors to schedule their appointments online or by calling 210-358-2812.

Community - GOOD

We will also include updates of the many generous acts and gifts from the community, such as food and services. One we’d like to mention today is a Kendra Scott “virtual online party” that will run from Tuesday, March 31 through Wednesday, April 1 (no foolin’!) when 20% of sales will be donated to the University Health System Foundation Patient Assistance Fund, which is used to provide basic needs for patients and their families during this unprecedented time. For more information visit kendragivesbacktouhsfoundation.splashthat.com to start shopping and don’t forget to use the web code at checkout on March 31-April 1 so that the Foundation receives credit. Web code is: GIVEBACK6816