It’s been a gradual improvement, but Trinity Health says it is encouraged by the number of people taking its face covering and social distancing policies to heart.
Trinity issued a face covering requirement for all its facilities in late April. Since then, there has been a steady rise in the number of people embracing the policy by keeping a physical distance and bringing a mask or face covering with them when they enter a Trinity Health building as a patient or eligible visitor or guest.
Vice President Randy Schwan says he has noticed more people bringing masks or face coverings with them, which is ideal. “This is essential because we have a very limited supply of other masks to hand out,” he said. He noted it has also been necessary to remind patients and visitors that masks and keeping a distance are required at all Trinity Health facilities, including clinics.
“The latest science affirms that cloth face coverings and social distancing are critical tools in the fight against COVID-19,” he said. “We applaud the good behaviors we have noticed in our facilities and out in the community, but we would like to improve on the number of folks coming to our facilities prepared with face coverings. It is the responsibility of all of us to protect ourselves, our families, and the community.”
Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) remain an issue nationally, according to Schwan. “Healthcare is still struggling with the supply chain for masks and other PPE,” he noted. “Strategies for improving supplies are widely talked about, but on the front lines most healthcare organizations still face dire shortages. That condition isn’t likely to improve in the short term given the uptick in cases across the country.”
Schwan says Trinity Health, like all organizations, has implemented conservation policies and continues to manage supplies appropriately. However, the shortages mean that health systems are even more reliant on patients and visitors bringing masks with them to their appointments to help ease the shortfall.