A message from St. Luke's Hospital CEO Michelle Fortune about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
St. Luke's Hospital in Columbus, North Carolina, is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak throughout the world and in the United States. Our highly skilled team is trained to safely care for any potential patient while taking precautions to avoid exposures to our staff and other patients.
Since the outbreak, St. Luke's has taken action in the following ways to protect our patients, team members and community from the virus:
We have activated our Decon Team representing all areas of St. Luke's Hospital, including physicians, our infection prevention director, emergency services, nurses, medical staff, Engineering Department, Marketing and Public Relations Department, and hospital leadership to monitor and develop a response plan.
We review Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidance daily to accurately identify potential patients who meet the symptoms and travel history, or have had close contact with a recent traveler from an infected area and are updating our processes as new information is learned.
We have shared detailed information to all of our care teams with the proper protocol and response measures should they come into contact with a potential COVID-19 patient.
We currently have signs at all of our facility entrances that recommend patients who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to please call 828-894-3311 for special instructions.
To test our response, a patient scenario drill was carried out at the hospital that included participation from all areas of the hospital. Representatives from Polk County Health and Human Services were present for this session.
Because St. Luke's Hospital hires Atrium Health for various services, we have access to their expanded resources for managing infectious disease and utilize that access daily.
We are also participating in regular meetings with Polk County Health and Human Services, Polk County Emergency Management Services, the Polk County Emergency Director, Polk County Sheriff's Office and other key leaders and nursing home administrators.
We have worked with our supply chain partners to order additional personal protective equipment and have implemented travel screens in all locations.
We are training to identify, isolate and inform to ensure that we contain and respond appropriately should one of our locations receive an individual with symptoms of the virus.
Teammates have participated in a training module that has additional information on COVID-19.
We encourage everyone to practice safe hygiene to limit the spread of germs and respiratory viruses. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces often; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and staying home if you believe you are sick. Truly, these are the best ways that we can all protect ourselves.
Thank you for partnering with St. Luke's Hospital to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. For more information, call St. Luke's Hospital at 828-894-3311.