The MediSys Health Network is currently monitoring the emergence of the Coronavirus. It is important that our employees are informed about the details of the virus, and are aware of our level of preparedness and safety guidelines.
The Coronavirus is a new and potentially serious virus that originated in Wu Han City, in the Hubei province of China and is closely being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other global health authorities. The symptoms of the virus most closely resemble Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and include shortness of breath, cough, sputum production, fatigue, body aches and in many (but not all) cases fevers. Many international airports are currently screening passengers from this region of the world for symptoms. However, because the incubation period for the Coronavirus can be up to 14 days, there is a possibility that infected travelers can pass through without being detected.
Both hospitals in the network are presented with unique challenges. Jamaica Hospital is the closest hospital to JFK International Airport and Flushing Hospital serves one of the most culturally diverse populations in the country, with many of its residents having close ties with the epicenter of the Coronavirus. These challenges place our hospitals in a constant state of readiness.
The safeguards we have put into place to protect everyone include closely monitoring updates and recommendations from the CDC and NYS Department of Health (DOH). We also created a new travel screening tool in Epic specific to 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS. It asks all patients if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with this virus AND have been to Wu Han City within the last 14 days OR have come in contact with a person under investigation (PUI).
The MediSys Health Network’s Emergency Management and Prehospital Care Departments have also been working closely with authorities at JFK and the CDC to identify any potential patients that are brought to Jamaica Hospital from the airport. In such a scenario, a fever travel notification will be triggered and a plan to safely guide patients into an isolation room will be activated.
In the event that one of our hospitals identifies a patient through the screening process, the following steps should be taken:
- “Mask first, ask questions later” (Provide a patient with a surgical mask)
- Have the patient perform hand hygiene with soap and warm water
- After performing hand hygiene employees should immediately don the following PPE: N95 mask, gloves, isolation gown, face shield or goggles
- “Don’t wait, isolate” – (Escort patient into an Airborne Isolation room. If one is not available, use a private room and obtain a HEPA filter from Engineering and keep the door closed).
- Use standard/contact/airborne precautions
- EVS will maintain the use of routine disinfectant and routine procedures
During this time, visiting may be restricted and all visitors will be required to wear a surgical mask along with isolation gown and be instructed regarding correct donning and doffing and hand hygiene. A visitor and staff log must also be maintained.
The MediSys Health Network has a great deal of experience providing care to potentially contagious patients. The infection control and safety measures that we have put in place are a reflection of our dedication to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors, and employees.