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Information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19)

Extending Our Mission during COVID-19

In this update to the community, Peter D. Banko, President & CEO of Centura Health shares more on how Centura Health and our 21,000 caregivers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the communities we serve across Colorado and western Kansas. Much like we’ve done in our 138 years as a healing ministry, we are responding with courage, kindness and compassion and extending our Mission so that all needs are met.

At Centura Health, our communities’ health and wellness guide everything we do. On March 5, Gov. Polis and the Colorado Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) confirmed the state’s first presumptive case of COVID-19. Our incredible caregivers, in coordination with officials at CDPHE and local health departments, follow all proper CDC protocols for patient handling of suspected COVID-19 cases. We are sharing the following information to provide background on the new coronavirus (referred to as COVID-19) and hopefully address questions you may have.

Given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are moving from containment to mitigation strategies due to the presumed local transmission in our community. This means that we will no longer provide COVID-19 testing for those who do not need hospital admission. This will allow us to conserve valuable resources including testing and treatments, will enable appropriate isolation and preserve the well-being of our clinicians.

We thank the community for their understanding in helping us to reduce risk and spread of COVID-19. 

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID – 19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 was first detected in China and now has been detected in 60 locations internationally, including the United States.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q1: I have heard that the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic. What does that mean?

    A1: According to the WHO, a pandemic is "an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people." The CDC defines a pandemic as "an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people."

    Keep in mind, designating an event as a “pandemic” doesn’t refer to the severity of the disease. Based on current information, the case fatality rate for COVID-19 is higher than that of the typical seasonal flu, but not as high as that of SARS, a similar virus first detected in 2002. There is no reported dramatic change in the characteristics of the COVID-19 virus itself or the disease that it can cause. The pandemic label is more about the widespread nature of a disease that has progressed from something local to something truly global.

    Q2: How is COVID-19 spread?

    A2: The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    Q3: How do I protect myself?

    A3: There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC recommends preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.


    Q4: What should I do if I believe I am sick with coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    A4: Call the office of your health care provider before you go. Tell them about your travel or contact and your symptoms. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with others, don’t go out in public and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

    Q5: I came to get tested for COVID-19 because I’m concerned I may have it, why aren’t you testing me?

    A5: Our caregivers and physicians continue to respond and care compassionately for our communities and patients, including those who present with COVID-19 symptoms. In Colorado, we are seeing wider community spread transmission of COVID-19 and have seen a significant increase in patients presenting in our Emergency Departments. As such, we have put protocols in place to only test for COVID-19 on individuals needing hospitalization and who meet the testing criteria. We will evaluate each patient who presents in our Emergency Departments, urgent cares, clinics and other care settings to ensure we meet individual health needs and take care of our communities.

    Q6: It seems like it is taking a long time to receive my COVID-19 test results, what is the turn-around time?

    A6: Amidst concern about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Centura facilities have seen increased numbers of the community being tested. If community members meet the testing criteria, the test kit will be sent to the Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDPHE) for processing. Getting connected to the Centura Health portal will allow you to view the results when available without having to call in or wait for a return call.

    Q7: Does Centura have the supplies needed to handle Coronavirus?

    A7: We are working closely with CDPHE, CDC, and suppliers to ensure we have the appropriate level of supplies to care for patients and protect our staff. At this time, Centura has received all allocated supplies to meet current needs.

    Q8: Is Centura prepared for the Coronavirus?

    A8: Centura Health is following the CDC guidelines to address patients with infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. Our hospitals are equipped with negative airflow rooms that are required to care for certain infections or viruses including coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, we hold periodic drills to address these types of scenarios as part of our standard emergency preparedness activities.

    Q9: Why are you implementing visitor restrictions to one person per patient each day?

    A9: For the health and well-being of our patients and caregivers we are reducing the number of people and hours for visiting patients at Centura facilities. We anticipate this to be a temporary change in response to a heightened respiratory season including flu, RSV and the novel coronavirus. We thank the community for their understanding in helping us in reducing the risk and spread of these viruses.

  • Visitor Restrictions

    Due to the escalating COVID-19 community spread, we are restricting all visitors across the Centura Health System. This includes visitors to the emergency departments, inpatient areas, ambulatory sites and other facilities. As the COVID-19 status continues to evolve, we encourage you to check back, as visitor restrictions are subject to change.

    • No visitors to patients.
    • Only in select instances will we permit exceptions. These visitors will be screened for symptoms and will be restricted to specific areas. Additionally, only 1 visitor per patient per day will be permitted under these exceptions:
      • Mothers on Labor and Delivery or Mom/Baby
      • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – mother and significant other are allowed to visit; one visitor at a time
      • Any patients with a disability who require assistance with the provision of medical care or activities of daily living, speaking for the patient or keeping the patient safe
      • Individuals who exercise power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for a patient
      • Legal guardian is permitted for patients who are 21 years of age or younger
      • Patient undergoing surgery or in procedural area on the day of the surgery or procedure
      • Patients at end of life
      • Individuals who administer last rites, or other spiritual sacraments, may be given as requested
      • Patients in the Emergency Department, with the exception of those suspected of having COVID-19
      • Patient designated caregiver to participate in the receipt of discharge instructions

    “While we recognize that family and friends are an integral part of patient care and healing, we must do what is best in this rapidly changing situation. With the safety of our patients, visitors and associates in mind, we made the difficult decision to restrict visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in alignment with many other local organizations including schools, churches and other venues. We recognize there are times when having a visitor or family member present is crucial. In those cases, visitors will be allowed based on our guidelines.” – Lisa Person, Senior Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer

  • Donations from our communities

    As our communities pull together in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are incredibly grateful for the influx of donated supplies. To help manage these donations as effectively as possible and limit potential for exposure to both donors and our caregivers, we have developed the processes and guidelines outlined below.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    We have placed drop-off boxes located outside the front entrance of a select number of our facilities for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

    The following locations are available to accept PPE only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday:

    • 9100 E. Mineral Circle (Corporate Office)
    • Penrose Hospital
    • Avista Adventist Hospital
    • Longmont United Hospital
    • Mercy Regional Medical Center
    • St. Anthony Summit Medical Center
    • St. Catherine Hospital

    We are currently able to accept only the following items:

    • Boxed masks and N95s (single or used masks cannot be accepted)
    • Gloves that are still in manufacturer packaging
    • Packaged gowns or rain ponchos with sleeves
    • Face shields (must include eye protection and be labeled as surgical, isolation, dental, or medical procedure face shields)

    Homemade masks We are so amazed by the talented and giving members of our community offering to make homemade masks. As of today, per CDC guidelines, homemade masks are not considered PPE and should be only considered as a last resort. Therefore, Centura is not currently accepting these as donations, but would like to still hear from you. Please email us at CovidDonations@centura.org so we can provide you a pattern and material specifications in the event our current policy changes and we begin to accept homemade masks.

     

    Ways People Can Help: Needed items

    As people continue to seek ways to help, whether for a specific Centura hospital or the system, please email CovidDonations@centura.org and consider the following much-needed items:

    • Sign up to donate blood at a local donation center, as local blood centers anticipate up to a 35% decline in the coming weeks due to social distancing.
    • Deliver catered food for on-duty caregivers (homemade food cannot be accepted).
    • Assemble care packages for our caregivers who are working long hours and may not have time or resources to obtain essential items for personal use, including items such as:
      • Shelf-stable food staples
      • Toilet paper and other paper goods
      • Home cleaning supplies
    • Direct financial donations to our Foundations.
    • Check on an at-risk neighbor:
      • Exchange phone numbers
      • Stick to a daily “check-in” call
      • Run an urgent errand if needed

    We are incredibly grateful for this outpouring of generosity from our communities in support of our patients and caregivers as you continue delivering the highest quality care during this time of great need.

  • Donate Blood

    As Colorado reaches a critical point in our blood supply, we are partnering with Vitalant, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood serve providers. We encourage you to call Vitalant to schedule an appointment at one of their eight donation centers across Colorado at 303-363-2300.

    The blood collection process is safe, and Vitalant staff follow rigorous safety and disinfection protocols on their bloodmobiles and in their donation centers. And while you should avoid donating if you have had COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone suspected of having a COVID-19 infection, giving blood has no impact on the donor’s immune system.

    Vitalant – Schedule an Appointment.