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Coronavirus Update and Health System Preparations - 3/31

Coronavirus Update and Health System Preparations - 3/31

Testing and Confirmed Cases
To protect patient privacy, we have established a minimum threshold of five for reporting numbers of inpatients with laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

DCH internal counts as of noon on 3/31/20:

  • 6 inpatients are being treated for COVID-19.

  • Five or fewer inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are being treated in the ICU.

  • Five or fewer inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are on ventilators.

  • 19 (cumulative) have tested positive for COVID-19 including individuals from the ED, triage tent and inpatient. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.

  • 676 (cumulative) have tested negative at DCH sites

Effective Wednesday, April 1, at 7 a.m., any individual entering a DCH facility will be provided a surgical mask and asked to wear it. The mask should be worn in patient care areas and in other areas where social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained. An N95 mask will be provided to employees where recommended based on the precautions for a particular patient.

At DCH’s Regional Medical Center, masks will be provided at the entrances for the medical tower, Manderson Cancer Center, Emergency Department and South Lobby. At Northport and Fayette, masks will be at all of the currently available entrances.

This universal distribution and wearing of masks will be maintained as long as supplies are available and the elevated threat of infection exists. Masks continue to be a limited resource, so it is essential for providers to follow provided protocols to determine when to use each mask type and for how long.

DCH wholeheartedly thanks the community members and businesses who have donated masks. At this time we are not able to accept homemade masks, but if you know of a business or individual that can donate surgical or N95 masks please call 205-759-7106 to arrange a drop off.

Temperature Scanning
Community members and businesses have donated or loaned infrared thermometers (thank you!) and more are expected soon. In anticipation of these new resources, a plan is being put in place to require every visitor, employee and provider to submit to temperature scan at least once a day. Any individual with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater will not be allowed to enter (but can seek care if there is a need). This screening process will begin in the next few days.

Personal Belongings
With the current visitation restrictions and increased infection prevention measures, DCH is asking patients and visitors to only bring essential items to the hospital. DCH Health System cannot be responsible for their personal belongings and valuables, and those items create an additional infection transmission hazard for everyone involved.

Additional Surge Planning
Previously DCH converted 14 rooms at its Regional Medical Center into temporary negative pressure rooms. The airflow for each room is kept independent from the rest of the hospital using portable HEPA filtration units. These rooms will be used for individuals whose care involves procedures necessitating this additional precaution.

DCH anticipated the possible need for additional negative pressure rooms, so it ordered more filtration units in advance (and is working to secure still more). In the last few days, 27 more HEPA filtration systems have come in and are either being put in place or are being located in areas so that rooms can be rapidly converted to negative pressure as needed.