Although Guthrie continued to see positive COVID cases in the community in the summer months, the prevalence was low until recently.
“Guthrie expected the fall season would be complicated and that has proven to be true,” said Dr. Michael Scalzone, EVP and chief quality officer, adding, “Recently we have seen an increase in the number of patients who have tested positive, including those who have no symptoms of COVID.”
Recently asymptomatic patients at both Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital and Guthrie Corning Hospital were later found to be positive for COVID-19. This has led to testing and tracing at both facilities.
Guthrie Infection Preventionists are working with the departments of health in New York and Pennsylvania to determine the risk to patients who have been potentially exposed to a COVID-positive person and are testing those considered high risk. It is impossible to determine with 100 percent accuracy, however, if infections were hospital-acquired or through community spread.
Guthrie is committed to patient safety and maintaining trust as a safe place to get care. With the anticipation of more COVID cases, Guthrie has positioned itself to be well prepared with an ample supply of PPE and testing materials.
In a release received early last week, they outlined the additional steps they are taking to respond.
Guthrie will reinforce testing all hospital inpatients for COVID. Guthrie has been following all CDC guidance regarding patient testing, however, they will be moving to a higher level of caution by testing all patients admitted to a Guthrie hospital. COVID testing was already in place for surgical patients in the days before their procedures.
The Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital and Guthrie Corning Hospital have moved from Level III situation monitoring status to Level II active, with incident command teams engaged. Guthrie Medical Group is activated its EOC on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Guthrie Towanda Memorial Hospital is also activating its EOC protocols.
Temperature screenings will again be required of patients, staff and visitors to all Guthrie facilities. Administration is evaluating possibly restricting building access as well as changes to hospital visitation.
While many are feeling COVID fatigue, Guthrie urges the public to remain vigilant and follow protocols for not only use of masks, but also hand washing and social distancing at all times.
“We remain prepared, with an ample supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing materials,” Dr. Scalzone said. “We have increased our inventory of PPE and work with multiple suppliers to ensure we have sufficient supplies to protect our patients and staff. What we need from the public is a renewed commitment to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of COVID.”