I understand that our community and our Island Hospital team are nervous and concerned about the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and how it affects our family’s health.
I, too, think about my wife and my three young children’s health and our well being as we all live together in this amazing community.
Today COVID-19 is in our county and surrounding counties. Though this news is initially unsettling, I am confident that we are prepared and have the expertise and skills to care for our community.
My team and I are closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region and taking proactive steps to prepare. Focus steps are being made to protect our community and are in collaboration with local health official recommendations.
I have been in close communication with local leaders from the city, school, fire, EMS and the region’s Public Health regarding recommendations for the community. The Anacortes Senior Activity Center has closed until further notice as a step to protect the senior population in the area.
In addition, Island Hospital has started to limit some of its nonessential programs in the community that would affect people at higher risk (people over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions) such as support groups, community education classes and a planned open house later this month.
Together, with local officials, we are committed to taking proactive steps to protect the health of our patients, staff and community by making recommendations that are meant to slow the spread of the virus and decrease the potential number of individuals infected. We see this as a critical moment to control the spread of the virus in our community.
Today, our Island Hospital team escalated our readiness by:
- Opening the Incident Command Center to daily monitor and strategize the spread of this virus and strengthen the care standards with the county’s Public Health Department.
- Developing a plan to consolidate hospital and clinic entrances to move patients through the core screening process immediately upon arrival. This will begin later this week.
- Strengthening care sites to include the emergency department, first floor ICU and emergency care tents.
As we move forward together as a community and a health care organization, it is extremely important that we focus on the following practices:
1) Handwashing with soap and warm water regularly, covering your cough or sneeze into a tissue and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
2) If you have symptoms like cough, fever or other respiratory problems and think you should be checked by a health care provider, please call Island Hospital’s appointment line at 360-293-3101.
3) Keep your distance between you and people who have a respiratory illness, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions that put you at higher risk for severe illness.
4) When feeling ill, please recover at home, if possible.
Finally, please ask questions. The virus threat is evolving as well as the care guidelines. Our team will work hard to keep you updated on our website (www.islandhospital.org) and Facebook page as we work with both our health care team and community. We also encourage you to check with the following reliable sources for up-to-date information.
Subscribe to their text or email alerts to receive up-to-date, reliable information.
World Health Organization - www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-1029
* Charles Hall MSN, MBA is chief executive officer of Island Hospital.