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Santa Fe County Government is continuing to remain open for business. However, in an effort to increase social distancing and promote healthy behaviors we are encouraging all Santa Fe County residents who need to conduct business with the County to take the following measures:
The number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases continue to grow and we have been preparing for a local outbreak – an event we expect to occur. As our team always does so well in this type of situation, we are leaning into our extensive training, experience and collective expertise to monitor and evaluate the situation as it unfolds, preparing for every possible scenario. There are no effective treatments for COVID-19 so far. Researchers are testing some available drugs to see if they are effective against the virus. There is also a rush to create a vaccine since researchers already know the virus and its DNA composition. Once the vaccine is available, it will take time to prove its protective value.
As this virus unfolds, we will continue to keep you informed.
In the meantime, as we work to do our best for our community, I encourage you to focus on what I call the “Five Ps”, to ensure we are all well prepared in addressing this issue from all possible angles.
The Five Ps are:
We are collaborating with experts. We are in active communications with the NM Dept. of Heath/CDC and Christus Health so that our efforts are coordinated and proactive in response to this event.
We know how to keep infection and disease to a minimum. As part of our everyday infectious disease preparedness, CHRISTUS St. Vincent is working to refresh your knowledge of our policies for situations such as coronavirus, including efforts to reduce infections/contagions and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly when providing care and treatment to patients with infectious diseases, such as coronavirus.
We know how to mobilize. Each year, at least two disaster preparedness drills are conducted, and many of you have participated in these drills. We conduct them per Joint Commission requirements, and they are a powerful tool for practicing working as a team to confront any and all disaster and surge response challenges that we might face. This is includes natural disasters, mass casualty situations and infectious disease outbreaks.
We are stewards of our resources. Another key part of this preparedness is ensuring that we maintain sufficient inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and all other relevant materials and supplies. Know that we are actively monitoring material and supply availability as there are hospitals around the country already feeling the pinch. This should go without saying but, please DO NOT take home hospital supplies (i.e. masks) for home use. These items are intended for, and truly work best when, our sick patients wear them and/or the providers that care for them. It is critical that we’re equipped with supplies to care for patients at risk so as not to place our associates, or our community, at additional risk. Let’s collectively honor our core values of Integrity and Stewardship.
Something you know: Hand hygiene matters, always!!! Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. Take care of you by staying healthy, exercising and getting plenty of sleep to help maintain a strong immune system. As always, respiratory etiquette is key. Don’t be a “super spreader” of germs! Yuck!!! Sneeze and cough into a tissue or the crook of your arm. And wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Did I mention to wash your hands?
We will continue our practice of monitoring/observing caregiver hand hygiene and usage and disposal of PPE.
In our current series of Town Halls, we are sharing what we know, as it is evolving, about this virus so that we remain prevention and precaution vigilant. See the monitors and Vintranet for additional Town Hall dates and times.
Most importantly, stay home if you are sick! Again, practice respiratory etiquette, year round, when it’s flu season AND when it’s not flu season. Avoid or minimize exposure to people showing signs or symptoms of cold or flu viruses. Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch, and try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
In our State, ONLY the NM Department of Health (DOH) can coordinate the testing of patients for coronavirus. We DO NOT have the ability to test patients. Per CDC recommendations, all care providers will carefully screen for symptoms of coronavirus. If appropriate, our care providers will coordinate testing with the New Mexico Department of Health. And for those that believe they meet criteria and have coronavirus, we are referring them to call the DOH at 505-827-0006. To assist the DOH response, we will be disseminating more detailed processes for triage and treatment to our providers over the next few days.
Stay informed. On our internal site, the Vintranet, will have Quick Links to our most relevant policies, CDC criteria, FAQS and we will update as necessary.
CHRISTUS St. Vincent is in the process of working with local stakeholders, including city, county and state officials, local nursing schools and nurse educators to provide updates on hospital activities related to coronavirus preparedness. This will ensure that we are all on the same page with our messaging.
Information gleaned from our own internal experts, as well as the CDC website, will be distributed internally to our Associates and also via our external website, Things to Know, internal digital boards, kiosks and the CSV Facebook page, etc.
If you have questions or suggestions about our response, please email me and Dr. James Marx so that we can compile and thoughtfully respond to folks on our Vintranet and Website, as appropriate.