Understandably, questions about COVID-19 are coming at us from every direction– patients, fellow healthcare professionals, media, public health officials, family and friends.
Unfortunately, today’s answers may not be tomorrow’s answers, but we at Cleveland Clinic are working hard to monitor and adapt to the ever-changing situation with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in order to care for patients in the safest way possible, protect our caregivers, contain the virus’ spread, and provide the most accurate, up-to-date information.
Our responses will evolve as our knowledge evolves. Though this virus and its spread are unpredictable, we are focusing on what we can control and many of our typical processes are being modified.
Starting today, we are setting up tents outside all of our emergency departments where patients will be questioned about potential COVID-19 symptoms and exposures prior to entering. We have tightened our visitation policy and are limiting access into our facilities.
These are necessary precautions to limit exposure to our caregivers and patients.
Soon, we will be offering “drive-through testing” in partnership with other local providers. We will follow CDC guidelines on who will be tested.
The healthcare industry as a whole – including providers, payers and regulators – is deeply concerned about this pandemic. We are all in agreement that containing the virus is our highest priority and that these nationwide actions are necessary:
- Assuring access to screening, testing and treatment for all Americans
- Scaling up testing capacity throughout the United States
- Ensuring Americans who test positive can recuperate with assurance from their employers
- And, lifting state regulations on telemedicine
These actions, when combined with proper hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing, will better prepare the American health system to respond.
At Cleveland Clinic, we have revised multiple processes and policies, including curtailing business travel, modifying sick leave, cancelling public events, and encouraging virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings.
Uncertain times like this remind us why healthcare is our calling. Everyone is looking to us to do what is right, and we will. We will get through this together.