Trinity Health is closely monitoring the emerging COVID-19 outbreak and adjusting its operations accordingly.
Randy Schwan, Vice President of Mission Integration, says Trinity Health’s leadership and care teams are meeting regularly to assess the latest developments and prepare as needed.
As of late Wednesday, 103 patients had been tested for COVID-19 at Trinity Health’s drive-thru location and other care sites. But the testing situation after this week is uncertain. “We’ve scheduled patients for testing at our drive-thru site through Friday, but testing kits are running low,” Schwan said.
In response to a national shortage of testing reagents and specimen collection supplies, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) issued new prioritization guidelines for testing during periods of inadequate supplies. According to NDDoH, testing should be prioritized for patients hospitalized with respiratory illness, those living or working in congregate settings, healthcare workers, and testing for public health investigations and contact tracing.
Schwan added, “We’re reaching out to state and federal authorities to help with any emergency supplies. Our goal is to test for COVID-19 as much as possible based on Department of Health recommendations, providing we have the necessary supplies.”
Other actions taken this week include:
- At the discretion of our healthcare providers, non-essential surgical procedures and non-acute office visits may be delayed. The intention is to protect patients and staff, and to conserve supplies such as masks and gloves. (Providers will consult with individual patients regarding any proposed delays.)
- Physician travel to satellite clinics is assessed on a case-by-case basis by each physician.
- Business-related travel to conferences and the like has been put on hold. Personal travel also is discouraged to reduce the risk of employees having to be quarantined upon return.
- Trinity Health is working successfully with individuals and the community to cover the daycare needs of healthcare workers so nurses, doctors, and other vital staff can remain on-duty to care for patients.
“We’ll remain vigilant in monitoring this epidemic for as long as it takes,” Schwan said. “The safety of our patients is our number one priority.”