Thank you for everything you are doing to make sure we have hospital beds and other resources available for all of our patients during this difficult time. With no COVID-19 patients in our ICU or PCU this week, St. John’s Health is in very good condition with our overall capacity. Each of you can make a big difference in how quickly, smoothly, and safely Teton County is able to resume some level of personal and business activity as public health orders expire. Please continue to follow hygiene practices and physical distancing guidelines so that we can keep moving forward together safely and without major setbacks.
- What’s new this week:
- Testing for Elective Surgeries: St. John’s continues to bring more elective screenings and surgical procedures back online. This is very important to the community since many people had postponed important surgeries while we grappled with the onset of coronavirus in Teton County.We want you to know that you are safe in our care. St. John’s now tests all of our elective surgery patients for COVID-19 the day prior to their procedure. When we have an asymptomatic surgery candidate who tests positive, we reschedule the procedure and immediately connect the individual with the Health Department program for isolation and contact tracing. This is how St. John’s can help stop the spread of this virus in Teton County. We have already seen a positive test result from one of our asymptomatic prospective surgery patients, which indicates the importance of this precaution. A major benefit of our new testing protocol is that it helps our community more safely resume some normality while reducing the chance that we will see a level of hospitalizations that could overwhelm the hospital’s capacity. This is a protocol that exceeds what many other surgery programs are currently doing, and I am proud of my staff for advocating to go above and beyond the safety requirements.
- New COVID-19 Testing for Staff: We have finalized a plan to begin COVID-19 PCR testing for St. John’s Health staff and providers next week. On a daily basis, we will randomly select approximately 20 individuals from our staff roster and invite them to be tested for active COVID-19. Since we already monitor staff twice daily for symptoms and temperature, this program will specifically focus on individuals who may be harboring the virus without manifesting symptoms. Based on our results, we can help the community understand the level of asymptomatic carriers in Teton County. In addition, the Teton County Health Department will be able to isolate and do contact tracing for any positive cases. If our program is successful, it may be able to be expanded across the community to other segments of Teton County, including Fire/EMS, law enforcement, and even local businesses.
Thank you for the continued outpouring of support for our staff. This week is the time when the nation celebrates Nurses Week. Though we didn’t have our usual recognition activities this year, I want to publicly share how appreciative I am of the expertise, professionalism, and dedication of our entire nursing staff. I couldn’t be more proud of them.
Paul Beaupre, MD, CEO
St. John’s Health