Bayhealth is actively working to address the health and safety needs of our community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bayhealth is equipped to care for community members with COVID-19, and we have established protocols to protect ourselves and our patients, and reduce the spread in our community.
We are prepared
- We have initiated our incident command structure that was prepared for a crisis such as the coronavirus outbreak.
- Through EPIC, our electronic health record system, we have the tools in place to identify travel history, symptoms and other indicators that would place a patient at higher risk of COVID-19 so they can immediately be isolated.
- We are in regular contact with the Delaware Division of Public Health and other community agencies so that all efforts to coordinate testing and surveillance are collaborative.
- When Delaware Division of Public Health confirms a positive result for coronavirus disease, we are taking appropriate steps to ensure immediate isolation, and address and minimize any potential of exposure to other individuals, including healthcare workers.
- We are creating plans to expand treatment spaces and critical care beds.
- We are collaborating with our vendors and state officials on the procurement of additional supplies.
Reducing social exposure
The best way to reduce the impact of COVID-19 is through social isolation. We are reducing the chance of exposure to our Bayhealth team members and the community by taking the following temporary steps:
- Enacted a temporary visitation and entry policy at our hospitals that limits patients to one healthy visitor per day (except in special circumstances) to reduce the risk for community spread of COVID-19. We also have limited entrances into our facilities and are screening all visitors and Bayhealth team members upon arrival at the hospitals.
- Postponed elective surgical procedures.
- Postponed elective diagnostic imaging procedures.
- Canceled community classes and events at Bayhealth.
Community outreach and resources
- Established a telephone triage system to take calls from people in the community worried about potential COVID-19 symptoms they may be experiencing. People experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath may call our coronavirus triage line at 302-310-8477. The line is open Monday – Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Callers meeting screening criteria for COVID-19 testing will be referred to one of our off-site drive-thru testing sites.
- Advising community members that they need not go to the emergency department if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. However, if someone is suffering a severe or life-threatening situation, they should always call 911.
- Contacting patients with appointments at Bayhealth Medical Group offices and outpatient centers to pre-screen for illness and discuss options such as a virtual office visit, if appropriate, or rescheduling of the appointment if necessary.
- Providing information and resources on Bayhealth.org to alert the public to important updates and help our community navigate these challenging circumstances.
- The Delaware Division of Public Health is also available for questions by calling 1-866-408-1899, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting http://de.gov/coronavirus.
Please remember that there are steps you can take to reduce the spread of coronavirus, as recommended by the CDC:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others (6 feet or more).
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Older adults and those with severe underlying chronic medical conditions should consult with their health care provider about additional steps for protection, as they may be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times as we navigate through the complexities of the management and impact of the coronavirus disease. We know some of the temporary procedures we have put in place create inconveniences, but our sacrifices as a community are in an effort to be safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19.