Your team at WhidbeyHealth is committed to making the most current information available through regular press releases, social media channels, and our website. Researchers and healthcare providers are still learning about the COVID-19 virus, so everyone can expect information and guidance to change frequently.
This new update will give you a basic update about what we know now, and information about the preparedness steps we have taken to assure our ability to identify and treat patients with COVID-19 or any other illness.
The best state-wide information can found on the Washington State Department of Health web page: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus We also depend on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ) and the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/emergen…/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 )
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is thought to spread from person-to-person by coming in close contact (within 6 feet) with people’s droplets from coughing or sneezing. The virus is also thought to spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose and/or possibly eyes. Latest information indicates that people with the virus are the most contagious when they have symptoms like coughing, sneezing, a fever, and shortness of breath.
When should I go see my doctor?
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will only be mildly ill. In that case, stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and rest.
Call your doctor’s office if you have a fever, body and muscle aches, chills and sweating, feel really tired and have a cough that has persisted for a couple of days. This is especially important if you have other chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease or are over 65. By calling, your doctor’s office can help you determine if you need to be seen. Please wear a mask on entering any healthcare facility.
What does Person Under Investigation (PUI) mean?
“PUI” means a person has met specific criteria to be tested for COVID-19. This is a Department of Health term. Persons Under Investigation meet any one of these three conditions and should be tested:
- Having a fever, cough, shortness of breath AND recent travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea
- Having a fever, cough, shortness of breath AND have been close contact with someone with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19
- Having a severe, acute lower respiratory illness like pneumonia which requires hospitalization but without an explanation for the illness.
Can WhidbeyHealth test me for COVID-19?
No, only about 115 labs across the country can conduct testing at this time. WhidbeyHealth is working with Island County Department of Health and Washington Department of Health (DOH) to screen people most likely to have COVID-19.
A Person Under Investigation will have their nose and mouth swabbed and the specimens send to the WA Department of Health. It takes approximately 48 hours from the time swabs are received by the testing facility to get test results.
How can I reduce my chances of getting sick?
• Don’t panic!
• Wash your hands
• Use 60% alcohol sanitizer
• Clean “high-touch” surfaces at your home and at work daily (i.e. door handles, phones, keyboards, desks, bathroom fixtures and toilets)
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue. Using the inside of the elbow is no longer recommended as a virus can live there for some time.
• Avoid touching your face
How has WhidbeyHealth prepared for COVID-19?
• On learning about COVID-19, we assembled a Task Force assigned solely to this emerging disease. The Task Forces is made up of providers from throughout the hospital departments and our community clinics and was assigned to plan and prepare for our response.
• In addition to planning work, the Task Force conducts s brief team update at least daily; more often as necessary.
• We are in daily contact with the Island County Health Department, Washington Department of Health, Washington State Hospital Association, and NAS Whidbey.
• We have trained our Patient Access Representatives, Medical Assistants, Nurses, EMTs, Paramedics and Providers in the COVID-19 screening process and have built screening questions into our Electronic Medical Record systems.
• We have conducted drills about how to isolate patients and conduct specimen collection.
• We have secured additional supplies to collect COVID-19 patient samples and have trained our Laboratory Technicians in proper packaging and sending of specimens.
• We have increased our cleaning efforts throughout our hospital and clinics, particularly in our high traffic and patient care areas.
• We have tested our internal emergency communications system so that staff can be updated immediately in the case of changing guidance
• Our Materials Management team works continuously to ensure that we have all of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), supplies and medications needed to care for our patients.
• Guidance materials are available on an internal network for easy access by providers and staff.
• Staff attends webinars and conference calls in order to stay briefed on the most current information, including updates from CDC, WHO and WADOH.