Friday, March 13, 2020

Keeping yourself and those around you safe

The GBMC HealthCare System is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for a possible surge in cases. What can the individual do to protect himself or herself? There are two things that we should all do: 1.Wash our hands.  The virus is generally spread through droplets that occur when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes. If you touch a surface that has a droplet and then you rub your eyes, you will contaminate yourself. So, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. 2. Keep yourself at a distance from those who may be sick and could spread the disease to you by coughing or sneezing.

Two tents are now located outside the Emergency Department. They will be fully operational beginning Monday, March 16, at 11 a.m. We will use them to respond to an evolving situation as needed.

Currently, we are well stocked with personal protective equipment and our Incident Command Team, led by our Chief Medical Officer, Harold Tucker MD and our Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. JoAnn Ioannou, has a plan in place to deal with a potential surge in infected patients. Beginning Monday, March 16, we will begin screening visitors to our hospital and limiting visitation to patients to protect both the patients and our staff. It is critical that we protect our staff so that we will have enough people to care for the sick when they come. I am very grateful for all the work that has been done to prepare us for what might come. The Team is assessing the situation hour by hour and will adapt as necessary.

New Method for Measuring Hand Hygiene Compliance
Speaking of proper hand hygiene, starting on Wednesday, April 1st, we will no longer be using secret shoppers to measure our compliance with hand hygiene. This will now be handled by observers who are not only counting, but who will also intervene and provide real time feedback and coaching. This will help us “hardwire” washing in and out of rooms to get us closer to 100% reliability in this practice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that “on average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should.” Our Chief of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Ted Bailey, stressed multiple times, during a recent interview, that the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19 is with proper handwashing.

Thanks very much to all my GBMC colleagues for their efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

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