As I’m sure you’re aware, the current level of COVID-19 transmission
in our communities is once again spiking, and the number of positive COVID-19
patients and team members is increasing daily. The COVID-19 omicron variant
is highly contagious, and while some positive individuals may be asymptomatic,
they can still spread the virus to others. Because of this, our team members
are likely unknowingly exposed when at work, home or in the community,
and as a result, may be exposing fellow team members and patients.
To protect staff and patients, we
strongly recommend that all team members who interact with patients or
visit patient rooms (e.g., providers, nursing, physician practices, therapists, EVS, dietary,
transport, admissions, etc.)
wear an N95 mask. This aligns with the CDC recommendations for health care personnel working
in areas of substantial to high transmission, even if COVID-19 is not
suspected. In addition, the CDC recommends wearing eye protection (face
shield or goggles) during all patient care encounters. An N95 fit-testing
clinic will be held on Tuesday, January 18, in the Linda S. Pinson Conference
Center, Brunswick Campus, 7 a.m.-noon, for team members who have not completed
their annual mandatory fit-testing. Team members who are unable to attend
the Jan. 18 clinic can visit Team Member Health during normal business
hours for fit-testing.
The Health System has adequate supplies of PPE; requests for PPE can be
placed through PremierConnect Order Guide (one day lead time if ordered
by noon). For any immediate need, PPE can be accessed from the storeroom
(contact Alex Campbell, x3133).
In keeping with our Universal Mask guidelines, regardless of direct or
non-direct patient care, all Health System team members, including physician
practices and medical staff, must wear a procedural face mask when inside
any Health System building. Masks must cover the nose and mouth at all
times, unless eating or drinking, and should not be removed or lowered
when talking with others. The Senior Care Centers are required to follow
specific recommendations from the CDC/DOH regarding Long Term Care Facilities.
When gathering in break rooms, conference rooms, cafeteria, etc., social
distancing guidelines should be followed. The number of team members in
break rooms should be limited to reduce the possibility of transmission
when eating and drinking. When feasible, in-person meetings should be
limited and conference calls utilized.
We must be part of the solution, not part of the problem. As health care
team members, it is imperative that we follow proven best practices identified
for infection prevention when at work and in the community: wear a mask,
social distance, get vaccinated and boosted, and wash hands frequently.
We encourage you to not become complacent.