I had some questions I wanted answered from the local hospital today. Turns out they were way ahead of me. This update from yesterday answers a lot of questions about who is being treated, how they are doing it, testing resources and more. Take a loot….
St. Tammany Health System is providing care to all patients requiring hospitalization; we are not at capacity by any means. We have the space, the technology and the personnel to properly care for our patients (COVID or otherwise). As of this morning, STHS has 2 presumptive positive patients in proper isolation, plus 15 pending test results. The hospital has instituted an outdoor triage to meet Louisiana Department of Health and CDC expectations. Outdoor triage helps decrease the number of individuals entering and leaving the hospital building itself. Please know that your hospital is caring for patients, has capacity, and is preparing along with others throughout the US healthcare system to continue to respond. Everything that you can do to encourage everyone you know to stay home, to prevent the spread of the virus is helpful. And everything you can do to help us spread true and accurate information is helpful too.
The majority of COVID-positive patients (nationwide and locally) do not require hospitalization. They need to self-quarantine, treating COVID as they would flu or other similar viruses. The most important tools are rest, fluids and quarantine to make sure those who feel ill don’t share the virus with others. To confirm symptoms or address concerns, call 985-898-4001 to schedule a Virtual Visit with a St. Tammany Health System provider, which may be the most comforting and familiar, particularly if you are established with STHS doc for primary care. Second, our partner Ochsner has a 24-hour nurse on call at 866-230-1977. You can just talk through symptoms right on the phone. Or third, you can click here to start an Ochsner Anywhere Care Video Visit<https://www.ochsneranywherecare.com/landing.htm> if you don’t want to schedule one with through STHS.
STHS is managing supplies to safely care for patients and employees. Our Materials Management team is continuously sourcing supplies from public agencies and private industry. Community businesses such as dentists, construction companies and others offering assistance with surplus N-95 masks, surgical masks or face shields can call 985-898-4184 to arrange delivery.
Our Infection Prevention leaders are adhering to CDC advice for safe processes to ensure long-range PPE availability inside our system. St. Tammany Health System thanks our community for offers of homemade masks. Please be aware the CDC only recommends homemade masks as an effort of last resort; they are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and caution must be exercised to protect our workforce.
Our lab is coordinating with both Ochsner and Lab Corp to improve our access to COVID-19 test results. Ochsner has developed onsite testing, and Lab Corp has developed a way to test in sterile saline, not requiring viral test media. These innovations will help to process new tests more quickly, enabling faster results in our hospital and drive-through for patients with physician orders and signs/symptoms.
The onsite blood drive originally planned for STHS main campus has been canceled. Turnout to The Blood Center locations metro-wide has been exceptional. They will continue to collect blood as appropriate at their collection locations, not at mobile sites.