4/3/20 CEO Update: COVID-19
This week, our community leaders issued additional orders and recommendations
to help reduce spread of COVID-19. I really do believe that by staying
at home (with exceptions for essential activities) our community is helping
to flatten the curve and save lives in Teton County. With your help, St.
John's will be in the best possible position to respond to peak patient
volumes projected to reach Wyoming in late April.
- What's new this week:
- The COVID-19 testing situation has seen some improvement this week. The
Wyoming State Laboratory and the commercial labs are now getting results
back to us quickly. This helps us provide the most appropriate patient
care and utilize our PPE resources most effectively. This also hopefully
alleviates patient anxiety and allows individuals who have tested negative
to resume some of their essential activities and contact with their families.
Though CDC guidelines still restrict who is eligible for testing, we are
talking daily with labs and other partners in an effort to greatly expand
testing beyond what is now available.
Many of you have contacted us for more information about the incidence
of COVID-19 at St. John's and in Teton County. We publish a daily
report by noon each day at
www.stjohns.health/coronavirus. This report includes information such as the number of positive cases
in Teton County, and today we added additional data, such as the number
of daily hospitalizations. There is also an abundance of information to
be found at a new website created with Teton County, Town of Jackson,
and the Teton County Health Department. This site is
www.jhcovid.com. It is where you will be able to find the informative new COVID dashboard
created by Teton County Emergency Management.
- You may have read that St. John's has invited community healthcare
providers and emergency responders to participate in a blood serum study
that will reveal whether an individual has developed antibodies. This
pilot group was selected because it is the group considered to have the
greatest exposure to this novel coronavirus. Because there is such a shortage
of data upon which to make certain decisions, it will be interesting and
probably very useful to have information about the extent to which our
participants have developed immunity. This study was made possible by
the philanthropic generosity of local businessman Tom Katis.
- St. John's has a large team of employees from across the organization
laser-focused on COVID-19 preparedness. We are monitoring PPE and supplies
daily and identifying new vendors for necessary items. We are innovating
around preserving what we have and how we can use supplies more efficiently.
Beyond supplies and breathing equipment, the other key resources are facilities
and trained critical care staff. We are actively planning for alternate
spaces that may be necessary for patient care in the event of a surge.
In addition, we have identified an expanded corps of critical care staff
who are receiving specialized training for this specific situation and
the medical needs of COVID-19 patients.
I am amazed and so grateful for how quickly our patients have responded
to new ways of doing things in healthcare. Only a month ago, it was routine
to walk right into the clinics to see your physicians. Now, for your safety
and for the safety of healthcare workers and the larger community, patients
are seeing their doctors via virtual "telehealth" visits. This
is a secure, confidential way to talk to your provider about your health,
and it is accepted by most insurance companies. We are now doing nearly
100 appointments daily. This type of visit isn’t only for COVID
screenings. Just this week, for example, we began having some of our visits
with our oncology patients via telehealth. Please don’t delay talking
to your physician if you have medical questions. Your physician office
may schedule a
telehealth visit with you if appropriate. Yes, some electives procedures are being rescheduled
for the time being, but we are still here to help.
We continue to be extremely grateful for your support. From the encouraging
messages to employees written in chalk on our sidewalks to the hundreds
of hand-sewn masks you are creating for our staff and community, your
gestures of generosity and kindness are deeply appreciated.
Paul Beaupre, MD, CEO
St. John's Health
For more information on Coronavirus from St. John's Health, visit our
dedicated COVID-19 webpage and subscribe below.
Karen Connelly, Chief Communications Officer,