With increased prevalence of COVID-19 in the U.S. and now New York State, St. Lawrence Health System is taking measures to ensure the safety of our patients, our team members, and our community.
The public should call NYS's 1-888-364-3065 hotline with urgent questions or concerns.
Our health system is prepared to treat patients with COVID-19 should they arrive at any of our facilities. We have plans and teams in place should we need to activate them. Although this is a new virus, our highly trained Infection Prevention specialists are ready to respond if COVID-19 reaches our region.
This toolkit is designed to provide you with the most up-to-date information and latest tools available to assist you and your teams. Please contact the Infection Prevention Team if you have any questions.
Updates from the Infection Prevention Team
Last Updated: Saturday, April 4 at 8:29 pm
- St. Lawrence Health System is restricting all health system-sponsored and -supported international and domestic travel until further notice. Additionally, we are strongly encouraging employees to reconsider any upcoming personal travel.
- Any employee returning from travel to a CDC-designated region of concern for COVID-19 is now required to be screened before returning to work and may be asked to self-quarantine at home for up to fourteen days. For more information, please call Employee Health Services at (315) 261-5107.
- Out of an abundance of caution, we will be cancelling or postponing certain System-wide events currently scheduled for March and April. As the situation continues to be fluid, we do not yet know when March/April events will be rescheduled. Additionally, we will address the potentiality of additional event re-scheduling for later months as developments warrant.
- We are asking all employees to use readily available business tools, like Skype for Business, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing to participate in meetings from their office or workstation, thus, minimizing the need for large groups of employees to gather in small spaces.
- When face-to-face meetings are necessary, the CDC recommends expanding personal space boundaries to three to six feet and avoiding the practice of shaking hands.
Optimizing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supplies
We are asking St. Lawrence Health System employees and healthcare providers to conserve PPE by following the checklist below:
- Ensure the clinical situation requires PPE and the correct PPE is utilized.
- Remove N95s from units that do not require routine mask/N95 protection.
- Reminder: N95s are for healthcare personnel who have had a fit-test and come in close contact with an individual who has a respiratory illness/infection warranting airborne precautions.
- Follow protocols to mask patients with respiratory symptoms promptly and reduce exposures requiring expanded isolation and PPE consumption.
- Bundle patient care-related activities into a single interaction.
- Restrict visitors.
- Utilize technology for communication as much as possible.
- Use disposable food trays to reduce room traffic.
Helpful Tools and Resources
Policies & Procedures
- DOWNLOAD: Clinical Interpretation for Providers (as of 3/24/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: Infection Prevention — Hand Hygiene Policy
- DOWNLOAD: Infection Prevention — Standard Precautions — Transmission-Based Isolation
- DOWNLOAD: COVID-19 Provider Orders
- DOWNLOAD: Surge Plan Illustration (coming soon)
Safety Equipment & Prevention
- DOWNLOAD: Putting On Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- DOWNLOAD: Interim Patient Transport Guidelines for COVID19
- DOWNLOAD: Appropriate Swab for COVID
- DOWNLOAD: EVS and Diagnostic and Treatment Departments PPE (as of 3-30-20)
- DOWNLOAD: Inpatient PPE Guidelines per Department (as of 4-3-20)
- DOWNLOAD: Ancillary Department PPE (as of 4-1-20)
- DOWNLOAD: PPM PPE Guidelines per Location (as of 4-1-20)
- DOWNLOAD: Face Shield Adjustment Instructions (as of 4-4-20)
- DOWNLOAD: Elective Surgical Procedures Algorithm for Highly Communicable Viral Illnesses (as of 3/10/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: ED Screening Algorithm for Highly Communicable Viral Illnesses (as of 3/10/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: ED Screening questions for first contact/patient rep/patient registration (as of 3/24/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: PPM Screening Algorithm for Highly Communicable Viral Illnesses (as of 3/10/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: Screening questions for first contact/patient rep/patient registration (as of 3/24/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: Outpatient Diagnostic Screening Questions (as of 3/24/20)
- Copy and paste the link below in your web browser
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Extended Use and Limited Reuse of Disposable Facemask
- DOWNLOAD: Letter Regarding N95 Masks (as of 3/28/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: UV Disinfection N95 Layout (as of 3/28/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: UV-C N95 Disinfection Swimlane (as of 3/28/2020)
- DOWNLOAD: Call Center Algorithm for Highly Communicable Viral Illnesses
- DOWNLOAD: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Fact Sheet
- DOWNLOAD: Patient Scripting
What You Can Do to Help
- Stay up-to-date on flu and pneumonia vaccinations
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands frequently with soapy water
- Stay home and call a provider if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms
Employees and other St. Lawrence Health System individuals who travel to areas with concern for COVID-19 should seek clearance from Employee Health Services prior to returning to work. A new hotline is being established for employees who need clearance.
Identify, Isolate, and Inform
Please follow control measures in place at St. Lawrence Health System.
Identify: Identify exposure history, signs, and symptoms.
The St. Lawrence Health System task force is continuing to optimize and has incorporated updated screening for at-risk patients into our existing registration process. In addition, our health system has implemented new testing protocols and isolation policies.
Things to Know:
- Screening questions have been updated in all patient registration processes to include screening for risk factors of COVID-19 exposure. These are IN ADDITION to current screening processes for Ebola virus disease and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.
- Be sure to follow questions prompted in the registration process. Omitting parts of the screening process may result in a missed opportunity to identify an at-risk patient.
- Employees who travel to areas with concern for COVID-19 should seek clearance from Employee Health Services prior to returning to work. We are working to establish an employee hotline.
Isolate: Isolate the patient and determine personal protective equipment (PPE) needed.
Things to Know:
- Assure patients with respiratory illness symptoms are provided and wear a procedure mask as quickly as possible after entering a healthcare site. Physically separate these patients from other patients, ideally by placing in a private room. Use DROPLET and STANDARD precautions.
- Patients with respiratory illness OR fever, AND travel history to an affected area OR contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must promptly be placed in a private room or negative pressure airborne isolation room for further screening.
- Follow CONTACT, AIRBORNE, and STANDARD precautions.
- To conserve current masking supplies, mask use needs to meet criteria for clinical appropriateness. Please don’t misuse masks.
- N95 respirators should be used only for patients on AIRBORNE precautions. N95s should not be used for influenza-like illness (ILI) or other respiratory illnesses spread through droplet route.
Inform: Immediately inform the hospital Infection Prevention Team and any other appropriate staff
Communicating with Patients
We have provided helpful handouts and notices to help you communicate with patients, including messages to help patients and visitors self-isolate and asking them to notify staff if they have recently traveled — this helps in the identification of possible cases.