Update from Kristie Whitlatch
President & CEO King's Daughters | March 20, 2020
As you are aware the Covid-19 pandemic is an evolving public health crisis.
I wanted to update you on the
proactive actions we have taken at King’s Daughters to help contain
this crisis in our communities.
We continue to receive guidance regarding Covid-19 on an hourly basis from
the federal government, Centers for Disease Control, the state governments
of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, as well as local public health departments
and area emergency management departments. Although I believe our government
is doing all it can do given the circumstance, we cannot rely solely on
our government, but we can rely on each other. It is my job above all
else to protect the patients, providers and team members of King’s
Daughters Health System. I believe each and every person has a civic and
moral duty to do everything we can to protect our community.
Thankfully, the departments of health have not confirmed any positive cases
locally. However, this may give us a false sense of security so we must
be very alert and do what we can to protect ourselves and our families.
Right now, people are very preoccupied with testing. And while testing
has an important place, test kits are limited and therefore only people
who meet very specific criteria should be tested. Testing for the sake
of testing is irresponsible and could do more harm than good in the long
run if kits become scarcer.
At this point, stopping the spread is something we have to do and we need
YOU the general public to help. I believe we have to assume we will have
cases in our community. This is serious and we have to act as though it
is here now. Unlike many communities, we have the opportunity to limit
the effect here locally, but everyone needs to follow the advice that
has been given. Above all else:
- If you are sick, stay home. This is imperative.
- Work from home if possible.
- Practice appropriate measures including regular hygiene measures, especially
- Clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces frequently.
- Practice as much social distancing as possible and follow appropriate precautions
if you cannot. Do not let your children congregate in groups while they
are out of school. More tips on social distancing are posted on our Facebook page.
- Check on the elderly, make sure they have food and needed prescriptions.
As a health system, we have taken action to do what we can to be responsible
and react to the situation. I understand those actions can be inconvenient,
disruptive and sometimes not efficient, but they are necessary. Here is
what we are currently doing:
- We activated our Emergency Preparedness Plan and established a Command
Center on March 13. The Command Center operates 24/7.
- We limited visitors.
- We’ve reduced the number of open entrances.
- The Parkview Café is closed to the general public.
- We changed our policy on vendors, deliveries and food service practices.
- We are contacting all patients by phone to prescreen them.
- We are screening all patients on registration for symptoms of Covid-19
(cough, fever), exposure to someone with the virus, or travel to designated
countries. We initiate isolation and other protocols as warranted.
- We have designated isolation rooms in all our locations.
- We are currently screening all providers, team members and visitors for
history and temperature upon entering the building.
- We have issued guidance to our Medical Staff to cancel elective surgical
and other procedures. All cases will be reviewed. We must conserve Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE). We will however continue to meet our patients’
needs and will continue to do urgent and emergent procedures. We are following
the guidance given by the American College of Surgeons and the Center
for Medicare/Medicaid Services.
- Today, we have instructed all provider offices to convert as many visits
as possible to phone visits or telehealth visits. We want to restrict
the number of people who are in the waiting rooms and enforce the 6-foot
separation policy. We want to continue to meet the needs of the patients
who need us and provide them in-person access when required.
- We have aggressively conserved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It
is not that we don’t have enough now but we have to work under the
assumption that what we have might be all we can get. We must conserve
our supplies so we can protect the people who are interacting with patients
- We have arranged for people to work from home if it is possible. We are
currently trying to have as few people on all campuses as we can and continue
to safely function.
I know this is a lot of information. We all need to remain calm, vigilant
and practice social distancing.
Should you have questions or concerns, there are several phone numbers
and websites you can reference for the most up-to-date information. These include:
- King’s Daughters Care 24/7 at (606) 408-8999 or 1-844-324-2200
- The Kentucky Covid-19 Hotline at 1-800-722-5725
- The Ohio Covid-19 Hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at CDC.gov/Coronavirus
Working together, we can make a difference.