Meeting the challenges of COVID 19

March 31, 2020

With tremendous support from our community, we continue to adopt measures that ensure the safety of our healthcare employees, pursue the best possible care for all our patients and ease the burden on frontline staff who are balancing work life with family life.

To that end, here are the updates:

  • We have expanded the use of surgical masks to include all University Health System employees working in patient care areas.
  • We’ve joined with UT Health to enroll University Hospital patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 in a promising clinical trial for a potential treatment.
  • Healthcare workers need fuel to run on, and our community is generously filling that need.

We continue to rate our preparedness efforts as Good, OK, Concerning or Crisis.

Here’s the latest:

Supplies – OK

Our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to meet our current needs. But as we have said, we have no way of knowing how many COVID-19 patients will come through our doors in the coming weeks, so we continue to work with suppliers and staff to ensure we have these critical resources.

Operations – GOOD

Universal masking for staff who work in clinical areas. The safety of our employees and patients is our highest priority. So, with an increase in community COVID-19 transmissions, we are expanding the use of barrier masks, also known as surgical or procedural masks. They will be provided to all Health System staff, physicians and providers with direct patient care duties and others who work extended hours in patient care environments.

A clinical trial to test a possible COVID-19 treatment. As a Health System with an academic hospital we have the privilege of being on the cutting edge of medical research that can lead to miraculous cures or treatments. With our partners at UT Health San Antonio, we are among the first in the nation to conduct a COVID-19 treatment clinical trial. Dr. Thomas Patterson is leading this study into the effectiveness of the antiviral remdesivir. The first patient was enrolled this week at University Hospital. This study is for hospitalized adult patients who are critically ill. The drug, which affects the virus’s ability to reproduce, has been tested in humans with Ebola. It also has been tested in animals in studies of the Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, MERS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, which are caused by other coronaviruses. We know how devastating this virus can be. Here’s one research protocol that’s offering hope.

Community – GOOD

Each day there are reminders of the many supportive and generous members in our community. They tell us in so many ways we are all in this together.

Today we send our heartfelt thanks to Bird Bakery, Earl Abel’s Restaurant, Taco Cabana and Hope Hits Harder, an organization supporting children who battle cancer.

They’re providing meals to keep our employees going. We can’t thank them enough for supporting our hardworking staff and for uniting with us as we meet the COVID-19 challenge.