COVID-19 has become prevalent in many areas of the state, and has reached “community spread” status throughout the area served by Tower Health. This means that the virus is prevalent in the community and new infections are possible in work, home, and community settings.
When this occurs with any communicable disease, the CDC designates special guidelines. One key change is that quarantine of potentially exposed and asymptomatic hospital staff is no longer required or useful because the risk of contracting COVID-19 extends to both community or work settings.
Healthcare workers play an important role in caring for our patients and communities. With this in mind, Tower Health has implemented the following in accordance with CDC guidelines: any healthcare worker without symptoms can continue to provide care and work at our campuses. Healthcare workers will be monitored for fever and symptoms at least twice a day, one of which will be prior to starting the work shift. Symptoms include a fever of 99.5F or higher, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. If a healthcare worker develops symptoms while at work, he or she will receive a medical evaluation and follow clinical guidance. As usual, if the healthcare worker develops symptoms while at home, he or she should stay home, and undergo medical evaluation.
The “community spread” status of COVID-19 means the public should remain diligent in practicing infection prevention. This includes frequent hand washing with soap and water, use of hand sanitizers, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, minimizing touching of one’s face, avoiding close contact with symptomatic individuals, staying home, and practicing social distancing.
These steps can slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the strain on our community’s healthcare resources and the hardworking physicians, nurses, and staff throughout Tower Health. We are deeply grateful for the community’s support of our healthcare team.