Over the past two months the Retreat has been working hard to successfully limit the spread of COVID-19. We've been closely following, and in some cases exceeding, infection prevention guidelines issued by the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health.
Thus far our efforts have proven to be extremely effective. Those of you who are interested can check out the Retreat's COVID-19 dashboard at the top of this page, which offers a snapshot of inpatients currently under investigation and those currently testing positive for the novel Coronavirus.
As we hear more about states and businesses looking to return to "normal" operations, we feel the future of the pandemic remains largely unknown. Communities and regions across the U.S. will very likely experience ups and downs in the coming 6 to 12 months.
For the time being the Retreat will continue with infection prevention measures that have served us very well thus far. The following list includes measures taken here at the Retreat since early March:
- Following all relevant CDC and Vermont Department of Health infection prevention guidelines.
- Consulting with other hospitals, VIPCAC, Vermont Department of Health, and the American Hospital Association on best practices around infection prevention.
- Monitoring employee and patient health, including employees taking body temperature and recording self-assessment health questionnaire twice daily, and patients having their temperatures taken twice a day.
- Required masking for all employees and patients.
- Established donation program for community to provide hospital employees with homemade face masks
- Restricted employee way-finding and movement through buildings, and limited building access to encourage social distancing
- Restricted cafeteria access to direct care staff; closed the servery and moved to providing bagged meals
- Increased education and enforcement of frequent hand washing among staff.
- Provided tissues, masks, and hand sanitizer.
- Procured large donation of alcohol-based hand sanitizer as back up to low availability on the retail/wholesale market
- Created COVID-19 web pages on both the Retreat’s website and intranet (iConnect).
- Established tele-commuting for many administrative staff.
- Suspended all hospital visitation.
- Restricted access to inpatient programs to Vermont residents only.
- Established COVID-19 screening protocols prior to inpatient admissions.
- Established a dedicated unit (Tyler 1) with negative air pressure system and oxygen (if ever needed).
- Partnered with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital to provide testing and medical support for Retreat patients (if needed).
- Trained staff volunteers on proper donning and doffing of full sets of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Working to conserve existing stores of personal protective equipment (PPE) while also building PPE inventory.
- Expanded campus-wide sanitation efforts—have performed and will continue to perform terminal (deep) cleaning as necessary.
- Directed staff to stay home when sick (whether COVID-related or not).
- Mandating any employee who tests positive for Coronavirus to self-isolate for minimum 14 days and seek medical assessment and care if needed.
- Performing contact tracing for any employee who may have a positive test result for COVID-19.
- Providing daily child care for employees and community members designated as “essential” workers.
- Established online video and telephone options for many ambulatory services.
- Launched local marketing campaign to inform/remind community of open services.
With COVID-19 looking more like a marathon and less like the sprint we all hoped it might be, the Retreat will continue to take steps to ensure our campus is a safe place to work and receive care.