Our Community Asked Questions about our Experience with COVID-19 at Inspira and We Responded

Our Community Asked Questions about our Experience with COVID-19 at Inspira and We Responded
By John DiAngelo, Inspira Health President and CEO

We all miss those opportunities we took for granted to connect with our family, friends and co-workers before the COVID-19 pandemic. At Inspira, we feel the same way about losing touch with our community. It was too easy to accept that the national perspectives we saw on TV and on social posts were opinions shared by you.

First, we conducted an online survey. Then, on May 28, we hosted a virtual community town hall to share our story and to provide a live forum for questions. Joining me for the virtual town hall were panelists: James Bonner, DO, FACOEP, FACEP, chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill and Woodbury Satellite Emergency Department; and Matthew Warner, MD, CPE, FAAEM, chair, Emergency Medicine, Inspira Medical Center Vineland, Inspira Medical Center Elmer, Inspira Health Center Bridgeton.

Here are just a few of the 63 questions posted by members of the community who attended the virtual community town hall, along with our answers. To listen to a recording of this town hall, visit our website, InspiraHealthNetwork.org/virtual-town-hall.

Do you have a count of people who came to the hospital and contracted COVID? No one who came to the hospital as a patient with a non-COVID diagnosis has caught COVID after being in the hospital.

How confident do you feel about your supply of masks, gowns and gloves? We feel very comfortable at this time. This is a fluid situation, and we are continuing to plan for a surge even though it doesn’t look like we will see one. We have learned and will continue to stockpile PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) even though we have plenty of supply right now.

Since elective surgeries have started at Inspira, how are you keeping surgical patients safe from your COVID positive patients? There are lots of extra steps being taken to ensure safety. We are separating COVID positive patients from other patients in separate areas with separate care teams. We have plenty of protective equipment for our staff. Additionally, all of our pre-operative patients are tested for COVID before their procedure to ensure that it’s safe to move forward.

I have diabetes and a heart condition. Is it safe for me to visit the ER if needed? Yes. The tragedy would be if you delayed care based on an unfounded fear, and we were unable to medically intervene. The theme here is that YOU ARE SAFE. Please, if you have a health care need, feel confident that you can come and be treated, and we will take care of you.

Now that restrictions are being lifted, are you concerned there will be another wave of infections? We believe this will be an ongoing process. This will go through the summer and through the fall, and it will wax and wane. We will be prepared. The ongoing acquisition of PPE will continue, so that we don’t find ourselves in a position where we are tight on PPE. The discipline that we have learned through this crisis will keep us vigilant and keep us supplied as this disease runs its course.

How have you changed how you clean your facilities? We have increased the level of sanitation in many ways. UV sanitation lighting is being used throughout our system. All communal space is sanitized on an ongoing basis. We are using very few of our waiting rooms across the system, and those that are needed now have the chairs moved apart to comply with social distancing. If you come in, the goal is to take you right back to your exam room while your guest waits in the car. We can update your guest accordingly. In some cases, we will send a nurse to your car to take your temperature and to bring you back when we are ready.

Above all, please do not delay getting the care you need. You can feel safe to come into any one of our Inspira facilities—our doctor’s office, an Urgent Care Center, our Emergency Departments or an outpatient service—to receive the care you need.