Cody Regional Health COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update from Cody Regional Health

CODY, WY (July 24, 2020) –

Cody Regional Health has been in the fight against COVID-19 since March 2020. Since March, only two employees at Cody Regional Health have contracted COVID-19. Leaders of the region’s healthcare organization said the rate of their workers getting sick is lower than the general population, and the precautions they put in place protect patients and employees.

Last week, the second employee of Cody Regional Health had tested positive for COVID-19. But there are no confirmed cases of workers passing the disease on to patients.

“Do we come into contact more frequently with individuals who could be COVID positive? Absolutely we do, and we are proud that we have been able to keep our rates so low. We are here to provide healthcare and it is the nature of our jobs,” said Andrea McKay- Chief Ambulatory officer at CRH. “However, the preventive measures that we put into place actually helps lower our risk.”

CRH currently has one employee out with COVID-19, its second confirmed case of the coronavirus since March. CRH has one employee in isolation and has had only two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its 650 employees across the organization.

Exposure And Investigation

“There's no doubt healthcare workers are at increased risk than the general community,” said Laura Farnworth, Employee Health Nurse and Safety Officer at CRH. “We've had a very low incidence of positive disease in our workforce. And we try to keep it that way. We put a lot of effort into keeping it that way.”

Farnworth said CRH investigates how their employees became sick with COVID-19. They discovered that employees could contract it in “community” settings at work, in break rooms for example and not typically in exam rooms or other clinical settings. She said that CRH continues to work with employees to remind them about safety policies such as masks and social distancing. “Helping departments create safe work spaces that provide these safety procedures is very important.”

CRH works with the public health department to track confirmed cases. They also work with their internal call center to help provide follow-up communication with employees who may have been exposed. “We have to go through a whole process and make appropriate decisions, that might be quarantine versus active monitoring, et cetera,” she said.

CRH Incident Command Team say they follow CDC guidelines for when healthcare workers should return to work. Low risk exposures which include those who were in contact with a person with COVID-19 but do not meet criteria for high-risk exposure such as brief interactions with COVID-19 patients in the hospital or in the community, while wearing a facemask and practicing social distancing. These individuals will be monitored. The CDC states that health care workers who had a low-risk exposure may continue to work during the 14 days after their last exposure to a COVID-19 patient. While working, health care workers should perform self-monitoring twice a day and wear a facemask at all times (i.e., extended use) in the facility to avoid potential risk of asymptomatic transmission. If testing is negative and symptoms are improving or resolved, they may return to work while observing standard precautions, using a facemask and continuing to self-monitor for the remainder of the 14 days. Any health care workers who test positive for COVID-19, either in the course of monitoring after an exposure or otherwise, will be immediately restricted from work and public health notified for further case management.

Safe To Seek Care

Further, some worry the fear around contracting COVID-19 is leading to people avoiding getting critical medical care. Dr. Elise Lowe, Hospitalist at CRH said it’s safe to get medical care, and avoiding care could lead to bigger problems. “We've done a great job of communicating how serious COVID is,” Lowe said. “But our hope is to remind the public that we are safe, hospitals, (doctors’) offices are safe for people to receive care.”

CRH has strict policies on masking, hand hygiene and cleaning, and they do regular symptom screening of everyone entering their facilities.

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For further information about COVID-19, please call 307-527-2000 or visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

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About Cody Regional Health

CRH is a national leading critical care access healthcare system serving Northwest Wyoming. CRH employs and partners with over 100 providers offering a wide variety of comprehensive services including a walk-in clinic, Orthopaedic clinic, wound care and cardiology. Adjacent to our hospital is a 94-bed Long-Term Care Center and 16-bed chemical dependency center. CRH offers an 8-bed hospice care house and a regional cancer center. CRH abides by the Planetree philosophy as a model of health care. The Planetree model strives to enhance patient comfort by personalizing, humanizing and demystifying the health care experience. More information can be found at www.codyregionalhealth.org.

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