Meeting the challenges of COVID 19

March 27, 2020

University Health System Update: Meeting the challenges of COVID-19

Late this afternoon University Health System erected a 20-by-40-foot tent near our Emergency Department entrance. We hope we won’t have to use it, but if there is a surge in COVID-19 patients, the tent will provide extra space. We want to be very clear – we don’t have a shortage of beds. This tent is part of our surge plan in the event we see a large numbers of patients with respiratory symptoms. More details on the tent below.

Beyond that we are pleased to report that Friday passed with University Health System operations running smoothly, as we continue to monitor events surrounding the COVID-19 virus and prepare to respond.

If you haven’t already seen the COVID-19 resource page on our website we encourage you to check it out. The information there assists in keeping the public up-to-date on our safety guidelines for hospital visits, temporary clinic consolidations and what you should do if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

We have received some positive feedback on assigning a status to various aspects of preparedness. So, we’ll continue to do that in our updates by judging them as: Good, OK, Concerning or Crisis.

Here’s the latest:

Supplies – OK

Today we were alerted to several donations of masks for our healthcare workers, including some N95’s being given to us by Lowe’s. Our status for supplies remains the same: We do not have a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), but we are carefully monitoring the use of these critical resources and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines for consistent and appropriate use.

Operations - GOOD

University Health System has been planning for any COVID-19 surge of patients since January. That includes identifying ways of separating patients with symptoms of the virus from other hospital patients. We already do that for patients who are admitted. The tent will allow us to do that at the Emergency Department entrance.

Currently, patients with COVID-19 symptoms who report to our emergency department are taken to an isolated space where they are evaluated for testing and possible treatment.

The tent would be used if we see a surge of patients. They would be screened outside the entrance. Those without COVID-19 symptoms would proceed into the emergency treatment area. Patients with symptoms would be evaluated in the tent area, moved to an isolated area for care, or tested and discharged if they are stable.

Our current census in the hospital is lower than usual because we are postponing elective surgeries. We have also seen a lower number of patients in our Emergency Department as people are appropriately staying home, and thereby avoiding car crashes and other activities that can lead to traumatic injury.

Our consolidation of outpatient clinics is going smoothly as we temporarily move some services to alternate locations and make greater use of telephone appointments. We’re doing this to better utilize resources and limit exposure to the virus. Patients and the public will find an updated list of clinic locations and services on our website.

Community – GOOD

The goodness and generosity of our community friends just keeps growing. Today we are giving a big shout out to Lowe’s for donating N95 masks they had in their stores. Our healthcare workers appreciate your support!

And a great big thank you to BJ’s Restaurant. BJ’s provided pre-packaged meals for one of our inpatient hospital units. The staff was incredibly grateful for the delicious meals and the thoughtful gesture.