Foster said decisions to close should be made by local leaders and informed about the number of cases in their community, whether the beds in the hospitals are needed to care for Covid-19 patients and about the hospital’s staffing.
For the time being, the industry continues to pursue its aggressive marketing while playing new safety protocols, such as mask requirements, visitor screening and adherence to CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of disease.
“We are safe and ready to serve you,” says the subject line of an email from MedStar Health.
“Keep social distance, stop medical distance,” says a narrator in an advertisement of a new healthcare alliance.
“Please don’t ignore your symptoms, your life may depend on it,” says a doctor in a four-week $ 6 million ad campaign from the Greater New York Hospital Association.
While there is no federal mandate to test patients before surgery, multiple hospital and health systems trading groups say it has become essential. Some hospitals with internal testing labs can quickly reverse results, while others may require patients to be quarantined for days before being admitted for surgery, although there is no way to get them to do that.
At MedStar Health facilities in Maryland and Washington, DC, patients are tested no more than five days before a scheduled selection procedure and then quarantined. The health system initially required a second test within 24 hours of surgery for anyone who had not been quarantined but withdrew after thousands of tests failed to report a positive, said Terry Fairbanks, MedStar’s vice president of quality and safety, in a statement.
In New York, the state health department last month changed the requirement that hospitals test all patients scheduled for elective surgery from three days in advance to five days – with the only exception in an emergency. Some members have had to reschedule procedures due to a shortage of testing supplies, although hospitals have generally been able to meet that requirement, a GNYHA spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, many hospitals continue to face the same problems that plagued the nation in the spring: persistent shortages of personal protective equipment and backlogs in testing, which could cause some concern to staff and patients to catch the infection. A Survey of Premier Inc. In June it turned out that essential equipment is still hard to buy: Nearly 53 percent of respondents noted that N95 masks were heavily reordered and 40 percent said test rods and kits were also reordered.
That situation takes place among workers on the ground.
At Sarasota Doctors Hospital, staff have to wear the same N95 and surgical mask all day long, lack of personal protective equipment involving Geniece Hunt, a registered nurse at the hospital, who says they should be thrown away after seeing each patient . Hunt, who is a member of National Nurses United, said workers were told they would not be tested unless they had symptoms.
Monica Yadav, hospital spokesman, said the facility follows CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment and everyone who enters wears a mask.
“We contact every COVID positive case at our facility to ensure that our healthcare providers are not accidentally exposed and test accordingly,” she wrote in an email, adding that the hospital is limited elective clinical and outpatient surgeries as the number of community cases and hospitalizations increases.
Alexandria Cutler, a food service assistant at UPMC Western Psychiatric in Pittsburgh, said she should also wear the same mask all day long, and hospital administrators have told her that they cannot be tested unless they are symptomatic.
In an email, Sheila Davis, a spokesperson for UPMC, said that staff get a new mask every day and if it gets dirty, they can request a different mask. UPMC employees are tested when contact detection determines “they had unprotected exposure AND any symptoms, or if the test was ordered by their doctor because of their symptoms.”
“Testing absent symptoms is of limited value and is often misleading – for example, producing a negative result shortly before the person becomes positive or develops symptoms,” she wrote.
Cutler is still concerned about returning the virus to her family. Taking care of her elderly father and aunt, she said, “The thought of bringing them such a thing and that their death is on my hands is killing my whole soul.”