Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update to the Community
The safety of our patients, employees and medical teams remains our highest priority. As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the United States, we are regularly updating our response and preparedness efforts accordingly.
Like most hospital systems, we are carefully monitoring our supplies and assessing levels on a daily basis. We have taken many steps to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduce potential staff exposures, including postponing elective procedures and utilizing virtual care options as much as possible. In terms of managing our response, CHI Franciscan’s Mission Control Command Center continues to be an invaluable tool for leveraging real-time data to manage our resources, re-deploy staff as needed, and monitor all patients within our system as effectively as possible.
We appreciate the continued dedication of our staff who are going above and beyond to meet the needs of our patients and our communities while overcoming new challenges each day. We also have nothing but gratitude for the kind gestures and notes we’ve received from our community and their generous donations to support our team.
Community Event Photos from our Community Gratitude Events at hospitals are located here.
- At our triage centers as of May 1, we have screened 36,889 people and tested 5,001 people, with 294 positives.
- These are not normal times, and we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and patients safe, while also conserving masks under the latest local Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
- In accordance with new CDC guidelines, CHI Franciscan is implementing “universal masking” at all facilities. Everyone entering a facility – patients, visitors, staff, providers, physicians – will be required to wear a mask while onsite. Masks will be given at the designated entrances already being used for symptom screening.
- Based on conservation guidance, current demand, and availability of new supplies, and the type of protection, we are currently operating with 19-100 days of PPE. We assess our supplies on a daily basis and are taking precautions to carefully monitor our current levels.
- Postponing all elective procedures is an important step to conserve PPE
- We are sharing resources across our entire system and will continue to allocate incoming resources where they are needed most
- We are working with our suppliers and our community to access more resources as they are available, as quickly as possible — we are also able to access the National Strategic Stockpile resources if needed
- CHI Franciscan, as part of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health is suspending billing for COVID-19 testing and treatment system-wide.
- CHI Franciscan’s centrally located Mission Control command center is using artificial intelligence (AI) and harnessing real-time data to expedite care for potential cases quickly and safely. CHI Franciscan is the only system in Washington state – and just the 7th system overall – to have such a command center.
- Mission Control provides real-time data on all of our rooms and patients. As the situation continues to evolve, we are constantly assessing how to adapt to demand. Mission Control:
- Allows us to operate as one system, sharing updates across our hospitals to ensure we can provide the care that is needed for each patient
- Provides regular updates on bed availability, including negative airflow rooms
- Allows us to ensure patients can be placed in the area of the hospital that is safest for them
- Provides staff with all information available on patients so they are prepared and can use the necessary PPE and other precautions
- Through Mission Control, we monitor every patient and every room across the system in a single snapshot, including negative airflow rooms and intensive care unit (ICU) beds. This is an extremely important resource that helps us assess and plan for demands on our system across our eight hospitals.
- Centralized staffing is a function of Mission Control that manages staffing for all CHI Franciscan acute care hospitals — as we postpone elective procedures, we can reallocate staff to meet system-wide needs
- We have more than doubled our number of negative airflow rooms, and currently have 202 available across our hospitals.
- To create negative airflow rooms the HVAC system is configured to pump air from the patient’s room directly out of the building, therefore restricting it from circulating to other areas in the hospital — the idea is to prevent viral pathogens from escaping into the broader environment
COVID-19 Screening and Testing
- CHI Franciscan has launched a chatbot interface (in the lower right of your screen) that engages with patients to conduct COVID-19 symptom checks and triages patients to the appropriate care setting.
- It can direct patients with mild symptoms to our Virtual Urgent Care screening option and those with more severe symptoms to the appropriate Triage Center or Emergency Services department
- It can also help check for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors, and provide general information on symptoms, prevention, and preparedness
- If patients have mild respiratory symptoms suggesting Coronavirus (COVID-19) such as cough, low-grade fever or mild respiratory problems, they should schedule a FREE Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care visit.
- If patients have a fever and cough and are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, we recommend that they be assessed at one of our 10 COVID-19 triage centers. Patients at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection include: health care workers, first responders, patients in nursing homes, patients with severe lung illness or chronic disease, exposure to a known COVID-19 patient, pregnant women and patients older than 60 years.
- All triage centers are able to test patients who meet the criteria for COVID-19. We are following current testing guidance from the CDC and the state Department of Health (DOH) for patients who meet the established criteria. This includes symptoms such as fever or lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), higher risk of COVID-19 infection, or exposure to a confirmed case.
- If symptoms change or worsen, patients should schedule a follow up appointment or call their provider to discuss their symptoms and assess next steps for care if needed.
Virtual Care Options
Virtual Hospital (Acute Care)
- We are ramping up efforts through our Virtual Hospital and telehealth systems for patient monitoring in order to regularly check on patients, while preserving PPE and reducing potential exposures. There are currently 140 rooms utilizing this technology.
- Our Virtual Hospital is utilizing encrypted video technology to monitor patients remotely — this allows us to be responsive and proactive in our treatment of medical, ICU, and Emergency Services department patients, while reducing staff exposure and PPE use
- The technology allows rounding by a virtual hospitalist and specialist
- We have increased virtual appointment offerings across our clinics, enabling remote, online visits with patients at home using their own devices.
- 500 physicians across more than 20 specialties are available to see patients remotely. Patients should ask if their provider offers virtual clinic appointments.
Virtual Urgent Care (FranciscanVirtualCare.org)
- We are offering free, face-to-face video calls with a licensed provider. If patients have mild respiratory symptoms such as cough, low-grade fever or mild respiratory problems, they should schedule a FREE Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care visit and enter the discount code COVID19.
- Out of an abundance of caution in order to keep our patients, staff, medical teams and communities safe, access to our facilities will be limited and staffed. Measures include:
- Screening all people who enter our facilities for symptoms, including staff and physicians
- Visitation is limited, allowing no visitors except under special circumstances, including end-of-life, childbirth/newborn intensive care unit (NICU)/special care nursery and caregivers in certain situations
- Children 12 and under are restricted from visiting
- Everyone entering a facility will be given a mask, which they are required to wear while onsite
- People throughout our communities have asked for ways to help and have volunteered to sew cloth masks. We identified a two-layer mask design and have assembled and distributed mask-making kits with all materials necessary to sew these masks. We are collecting completed masks at all of our eight acute care hospitals. While we will continue to use our hospital-issued PPE for direct patient care, these homemade masks help us prepare in the event additional masks are required.
- We are so grateful for all of the support we’re receiving from our communities. We are accepting community donations of:
- N95 masks (new and unused/unopened)
- Standard medical masks that are home-sewn and meet clinical criteria, are also needed — groups or individuals interested in assisting may please visit Donate COVID-19
- Other in-kind donations (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc.)
- Outright cash gifts to our CHI Franciscan Emergency Response Fund