Aspirus offers COVID-19 reports
WAUSAU, Wis. — Aspirus began holding press conferences on March 24, the health system announced. The press briefings are planned for three times per week during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each briefing is scheduled take place at 1 p.m. at either the Aspirus Wausau Hospital Birthing Center Conference or at the Aspirus corporate office.
On March 25, Jesse Tischer, Aspirus SVP and president – regional markets spoke. Aspirus provided the highlights in an email. (Note: Information is quoted.)
• There has been long-term planning taking place across the Aspirus system to address needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• We are continually monitoring events and working aggressively by putting plans in place that go beyond recommended standards and precautions.
• Teams are connecting with their peers in high activity locations in New York and Washington to learn from their experiences.
• This includes locating and contracting with new sources to provide needed supplies, including PPE equipment.
• The state of readiness at Aspirus is good and we are closely managing supplies to and implementing plans prevent shortages.
• Beds have been added to accommodate symptomatic patients.
• The safety of our patients and the workforce is a priority. Ex: Anyone entering an Aspirus patient care location will be screened before being able to enter the building or reporting for work.
• To help preserve resources, unless it’s an emergency, please call ahead.
• If you’re worried you may be infected by COVID-19 or have symptoms that may include fever, cough and difficulty breathing, contact your doctor by phone or call the Aspirus COVID-19 Call Center at 1-844-568-0701.
On March 25, Matt Heywood, president and CEO of Aspirus, Inc. spoke. The topics were:
• Have been preparing by watching and learning from what has been happening before in Wisconsin, the country and around the world.
• Aspirus is supportive of the governor’s Safer at Home order that helps to mitigate the spread by having people stay home.
• This is a long-term challenge, but we need to control the spread so we can be prepared and ready to handle patients.
• Aspirus is appreciative of the local businesses that are donating N95 masks that were used in other applications. We are also appreciative of the support shown by the community in providing home-sewn masks.
• We are taking steps to optimize our personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy. Teams are working ahead and being proactive in prioritizing usage.
• Aspirus is monitoring CDC policy and recommendations, often working ahead to implement before they are official.
• COVID-19 testing is being prioritized and performed on symptomatic hospital patients and for health care workers. This helps to minimize spread and also get health care keep workers healthy, so they are able to work.
• Clinical diagnosing is being utilized due to a shortage of tests and the timeframe to receiving results. Screening done by symptoms, contact with someone known to be infected, and elimination of other causes of symptoms, such as flu.
• The spread of COVID-19 in our community should be assumed. This is why the Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order is important. There are many people who don’t know they have it.
On March 27, Dr. Renee Smith, Chief Medical Branch, Aspirus System Emergency Operations Center, provided information. Topics included:
• The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving. Aspirus is constantly preparing to make sure it can care for the communities it serves.
• Aspirus is making sure it conserves PPE in accordance with CDC guidelines.
• COVID-19 ICUs have been established at Aspirus Wausau Hospital to help with any potential surges in the area.
• Testing is still available for those if needed after they have been screened.
• Aspirus is preparing for a potential surge of patients.
• The range of COVID-19 symptoms is wide-ranging.
• The community is donating items to Aspirus and it is greatly appreciated.