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Enhanced measures keeping hospitals safe during COVID-19 pandemic

Ascension Via Christi's hospitals and clinics have long provided a safe environment in which to give and receive care, but the novel coronavirus has required additional measures to keep them that way.
Ascension Via Christi St. Francis has dedicated COVID-19 patient care areas, which keeps patients who have been diagnosed with or who are suspected to have COVID-19 from coming in contact with other hospital patients. 

Using filtered exhaust fans and barrier walls, adjusting air flow and isolating mechanical systems, air is pushed into the areas where patients with COVID-19 are receiving care and not allowed to escape into adjacent spaces. Before entering COVID-19 patient rooms, staff put on full personal protective equipment and remove it before exiting to prevent the spread of infection elsewhere.

In all our hospitals, nursing stations, high-traffic areas on patient units and elevator cabs are being cleaned with greater frequency. Patient rooms are being cleaned with bleach after each discharge, an added layer of protection not done by all hospitals as it requires a second wipe down three minutes afterwards. 

In COVID-19 patient care areas, the Environmental Services team is using a hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant, which is similar to using bleach but without the pronounced smell, and as possible, doing a deep clean using the Xenex robot, which uses UV rays to kill germs.

Additionally, they are trialing a germ-killing product that leaves a fine coat on all surfaces when applied using electrostatic sprayer. "This does not take the place of traditional cleaning," says Jonathon Beisler, director of Environmental Services. "It is just an additional step we are taking to ensure a safe environment for the next patient."

 At home, if someone is sick in your home, you should minimize contact and stay in separate rooms if possible. If not possible, using HEPA filters and keeping the bathroom exhaust on and windows open are advised.

"The majority of household chemicals will kill the novel coronavirus, which although highly contagious, is not a particularly resistant bug," says infectious disease specialist Maggie Hagan, MD. "Clean high-contact surfaces daily. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. And maintain at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others and wear a face mask when out in public.

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.