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Supporting our patients at every level

The caregivers at Trinity Health have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the last six weeks. I want to take a moment to update you on our response, share how your support and investment of time and resources have impacted our efforts, and offer ways you can continue to partner with us through this pandemic.

On behalf of our dedicated healthcare workers, thank you for the sacrifices you are making to stay home, protect yourselves and others, and flatten the curve. At Trinity Health, we continue to provide essential hospital care as we plan for future increases in COVID-19 patients. We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of community support we’ve received through letters of encouragement, donations of protective equipment, and other contributions.

Throughout this time, our goals have been focused on providing exceptional care for our patients and supporting and providing a safe environment for our workforce. Led by our Incident Command Center, Trinity Health has:

– Doubled the capacity of our intensive care units in less than three weeks.

– Converted the 5th Floor at Trinity Hospital and the 2nd Floor West at Trinity Homes into dedicated COVID-19 units and are able to open two additional units.

– Developed a plan to quickly convert two other areas in the hospital to serve as an adult COVID-19 ICU to care for some of the sickest patients, if needed.

– Conducted nearly 2,500 telehealth video visits with non-COVID patients who have received the care they need from home.

– Maintained the Level II Trauma Services Program for non-COVID patients while providing and protecting care for those who require the higher levels of care Trinity Health provides every day.

Many of you have reached out to ask how you can help. Trinity Health has established a public email inbox for those wishing to submit an offer to help, whether that offer is in terms of equipment, supplies, food, or discounts for our workforce to help get through this crisis. Simply send an email to CommunityKindness@TrinityHealth.org or call 857-5643 and a team member will follow up with you and help coordinate your goals.

The community response has been extraordinary, and we have felt the presence of your prayers.

Following is an update on activities at Trinity Health:

– COVID-19 Patients – The number of patients at Trinity Health being treated with COVID-19 has been relatively stable over the past 10 days at 1-3 inpatients, roughly half of whom are in critical care. All COVID-19 positive patients are in isolation units with negative air pressure. We report this daily to the county, state, and federal agencies.

– Professional Healthcare Staff – For several weeks now, physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare workers at Trinity and throughout the region have been on the front lines, taking care of patients with COVID-19 and the many others who need our help. These are the heroes of our time. I continue to be inspired by their dedication and courage.

– Bed Capacity and Surge Planning – Patient census is down significantly due to the cancellation of all non-urgent elective procedures. In recent weeks, Trinity Health has been providing care for an average of 85 inpatients, leaving over 140 beds in the system for immediate response to a COVID-19 surge. In addition, we have a surge plan that could add, by converting conference rooms and other non-traditional patient care space, as many as 250 additional beds. In March, we created dedicated isolation units for patients with COVID-19. Our centralized points of care help us conserve protective supplies and equipment for healthcare workers.

– Personal Protective Equipment – The international shortage of PPE is in the news daily, and assuring protection of patients and staff is a top priority for Trinity Health. Much work has been done, not only to procure needed N95 and surgical masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, and other protective equipment, but also to identify methods to produce PPE locally and to safely reprocess certain materials. We have had setbacks. A supply of N95s recently delivered from a Mayo Clinic acquisition initiative to Trinity Health were unusable. However, with each challenge we keep moving forward.

In addition to our normal sanitary procedures, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and comfort of our workforce and patients. All CDC guidelines and recommendations are being followed.

– COVID-19 Predictive Models – The surge models being projected indicate that we may have a long road ahead. The peak may be many weeks away, and we are working closely with the First District Health Unit leadership and regional hospital partners to prepare. The state is also leading the effort to identify sites for adding beds outside the hospital walls. Other efforts are underway to reach out to additional healthcare workers to provide support. If a surge happens – and we hope it won’t – the plan will be to keep the most critical patients within the hospital and have capacity at other sites to provide supportive care for the less critically ill.

– Testing – Current laboratory testing capacity allows only for testing of patients meeting certain criteria. These include symptomatic individuals, hospitalized patients, and healthcare workers. Trinity Health is developing new testing options with rapid turnaround time to further expand the community’s and region’s capacity.

– Screening – We have been screening everyone who enters the hospitals, including physicians and employees, for symptoms of illness. All of our employees are now wearing masks in the hospitals whenever they are interacting with the public or in a clinical area. For those in non-clinical areas with lower risk of exposure, the handmade masks our community provided are filling a need, and we are grateful.

– Visitors – Once it became necessary to restrict visitors to the hospitals, we found different ways to make sure patients feel supported and can connect with loved ones outside the hospital with the use of current technology.

– Telehealth – Many of our medical staff and other care providers are using telehealth to reduce the number of people entering a patient room. This effort is twofold – to prevent the spread of germs and to preserve much-needed protective equipment and medical supplies for our patient care teams. Our virtual health platform, Trinity Telehealth VideoVisits, provides 24/7 rapid assessment of symptoms for low acuity illnesses, including an initial screening tool for COVID-19.

– Community Support – We thank the community for responding so generously in donating medical supplies. Over 100 individuals and organizations have donated everything from facemasks to gloves to isolation gowns for healthcare workers. We are also grateful to those who have donated funds to support healthcare workers in need of child care and other services. We’ve received numerous requests inquiring how best to support our staff and other emerging needs. Please direct inquiries to Al Evon, Executive Director at the Trinity Health Foundation at 857-5432 or albert.evon@trinityhealth.org

– Partnerships – The healthcare community across the region is working closely together. Led by incredibly skilled medical staff leaders, our regional hospital partners and First District Health Unit are collaborating daily on issues before us and planning for the weeks to come. It is a privilege to work with such talented professionals.

Our health system and medical staff leaders have been laser-focused on this pandemic while maintaining readiness to ensure we continue to provide care and make more possible to the community and region at large today and in the weeks and months ahead. I am grateful to be a part of this community, and for the exceptional team of healthcare professionals at Trinity Health.

Thank you for partnering with us. The skill, courage and compassion of our caregivers has been inspiring every step of the way. Our teams at Trinity Health are always ready to make more possible and are prepared to serve. Whether we were dealing with the 2002 anhydrous ammonia spill, the flood of 2011, and now COVID-19, Trinity Health has always risen to the occasion to take care of our community and region at large.

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