We know this has been a challenging week for all of us who do direct patient care. The COVID-19 virus is spreading quickly and we are on the front-line of defense for our community. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been modifying their guidelines on an almost daily basis to reflect the shortage of supplies and equipment needed to properly care for these patients and ourselves. Our Union has been in touch with administration on a daily basis to get information and advocate for the safest possible standards right now. We want to share with you the latest of what we know, but please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and recommendations from the CDC and Department of Health can change at any moment.
- There have been concerns regarding staff that were exposed to positive COVID-19 patients. The CDC has deemed exposed healthcare providers can continue to work if they are asymptomatic. The hospital will check previously exposed staff daily for fever or symptoms. If symptoms start, staff is to don a mask, tell their manager and go to employee health. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-risk-assesment-hcp.html
- A rationing of masks have also been reported in all hospitals. This is a nationwide problem and the CDC has made major modifications in their guidelines for the use/reuse of masks and what to do if you don’t have an adequate supply of them. The Federal government has released their stockpile of PPE this week and NJ should be getting supplies shortly. But in the meantime, the hospital is asking we be mindful of our use of masks because there is no set timeline for when we will receive more. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html
- You will be paid and will not have to use your PTO if you are taken off the schedule by Inspira to be self-quarantined. A worker’s compensation claim will also be filed for you in case you are out of work for an extended period of time. You may also qualify for temporary unemployment if you have had a reduction of hours because the census has dropped in your department. https://www.nj.gov/labor/
- The NJ Department of Health has asked Inspira to reopen operations at Woodbury hospital to handle a possible influx of patients. Inspira has agreed to do this and is moving all mental health patients currently at Woodbury to Bridgeton.
- Please be mindful of your usage of social media. Pictures of yourself or others should not be taken within the hospital and you should not be sharing any sensitive information regarding patients.
- Inspira has set up a hotline for all Covid-19 questions/concerns. The hotline is open M-F 8 am-4:30 pm. You can call 856-508-1888 or dial 81588 if you’re in the hospital. You can email this hotline at- email@example.com for all inquiries outside these hours.
- You can check hpae.org for updates. We are also collecting stories from members across the State about their experiences so HPAE leadership can better advocate for us in our facilities. https://www.hpae.org/2020/03/covid-19-story-collector/
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