Reid Health is treating its first “presumptive positive” COVID-19 case, Wayne County Health Department and health system officials announced Tuesday. Health officials said the patient is hospitalized in good condition.
“We knew it was only a matter of time we’d have a positive case, and this certainly underscores the need for everyone to continue to be diligent about all the recommendations and restrictions that are in place in our county, our state and our nation,” said Christine Stinson, Executive Director of the Wayne County Health Department.
Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO, said the health system continues to take steps to protect staff and patients in every way possible. “All the work and planning that has been done over the past few weeks is all about ensuring patients and staff are protected from this infection. As the regional health care provider, our focus is on the care and support of this patient. And we are thankful to the people in our region for being understanding of the visitor restrictions we implemented quickly – not only to protect our patients and staff from contact with undiagnosed patients with COVID-19, but also in preparations for treating any identified infected patients.”
Presumptive positive means the initial test by the Indiana State Health Department is positive. The test is then sent to the Centers for Disease Control for confirmation of the results, which officials said takes several days.
Steps taken nationally to cancel public gatherings, encourage social distancing, travel restrictions and other precautions all are designed to reduce the speed of cross-infections within our population. “Slowing the spread clearly helps reduce the chances of a sudden large spike of newly infected patients that could overwhelm local and regional healthcare systems like Reid Health,” said Thomas Huth, M.D., Reid Health Vice President/Medical Affairs.
Meanwhile, Reid Health continues to take steps to minimize interactions it can control, such as cancelling elective surgeries, well visits and turning to virtual options when possible for care.
Reid Health has a technology in place that helps reduce the number of times caregivers enter a patient’s room, which is helpful with an infectious illness. “MedSitter” is a Remote Patient Safety Monitoring program that places a portable unit at the bedside and connects the patient directly to caregivers by video and audio. Designed to help reduce falls and other risks, it can be used with presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 patients as a way to further reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
“This system, known internally as “Ruby,” is in place with the current patient and has been successful in minimizing staff exposure. Staff who do enter the room are outfitted with appropriate personal protection equipment, per the CDC guidelines and our own infection control protocols,” said Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.
“We are so proud of our team members and of the people we serve for so readily understanding our visitor restrictions and other measures,” Kinyon said. “This is how we expect to avoid exhausting resources and caregivers as we deal with this pandemic for what right now is an indefinite period of time.”
Reid Health is offering a FREE virtual COVID screening through its Reid HealthNOW platform. The health system emphasized that anyone who suspects they have COVID-19 symptoms to call ahead before going to their doctor, urgent care or the emergency room if possible.
- A “no visitor” policy with exceptions for certain situations such as end of life, the Family Birthing Center, Emergency Department, or surgery
- Staff at the entrances of the hospital campus and physician offices asking screening questions of everyone before they enter
- When appropriate, having people return to their cars for phone triage if COVID-19 risk is determined
- Asking anyone with potential COVID-19 exposure to call ahead before going to any physician office, urgent care or emergency room
- Encouraging anyone who has an appointment at a Reid facility to arrive extra early for the verbal screening process
- Outpatient surgeries and other procedures are being temporarily limited to patients in more urgent need of care
A task force has been evaluating and making plans based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) recommendations for handling COVID-19, including how to protect staff as well as patients.