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Mar

18

Alice Hyde Cancels All Non-Essential Surgeries and Procedures

Following recommendations from the American College of Surgeons, the Surgeon General and multiple medical societies amid the coronavirus outbreak, and working with its UVM Health Network colleagues, Alice Hyde Medical Center on Wednesday announced the cancelation of all non-essential surgeries and procedures, effective Wednesday, March 18.

“While this is truly a difficult decision, it is the right thing to do for our patients and our people during this public health crisis,” said Matt Jones, Alice Hyde’s Chief Operating Officer. “In addition to protecting our patients and our people, this decision will also conserve valuable resources as we face a very challenging time for health care organizations across the county.”

Jones said the cancelations are temporary and scheduling for the procedures will be re-evaluated in the next six weeks, as the outbreak’s impacts on the region’s health system evolve. Dr. Lisa Mark, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Todd Whitman, Assistant Chief Medical Officer, are working with Alice Hyde’s providers and operation teams to implement the cancellations, said Jones.

Alice Hyde on Tuesday also moved to conserve coronavirus testing kits amid a nationwide shortage. Effective immediately the hospital will only test inpatients, Emergency Department patients awaiting inpatient admission, and residents at The Alice Center who meet CDC and Public Health guidelines making them a Patient Under Investigation.

Dr. Whitman, Alice Hyde’s Assistant Chief Medical Officer, said the restrictions are due to a nationwide shortage of COVID-19 testing kits.

“This is a widespread limitation of testing,” said Whitman. “It’s not because we’re a rural area – they’re facing the same thing in New York City and metropolitan areas across the country.”

By limiting the scope of testing, Whitman said, Alice Hyde will also focus on potential cases that carry a high risk of spreading the virus to vulnerable populations.

“Spread of the virus within health care facilities – a hospital and certainly a long term care facility -- could be devastating,” he said. “So it’s very important that we focus on those two populations right now, with the limited supply of testing kits we have.”

Patients and community members who are mildly ill should follow CDC guidelines for helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, said Whitman. Those include staying home, limiting contact with pets and animals, washing your hands often and practicing social distancing. Unless you believe you need immediate medical attention, all patients exhibiting symptoms including fever, cough and trouble breathing should call ahead before visiting their doctor’s office.

“It is important to contact your primary care provide if you’re feeling sick, and to visit a medical facility only at their instruction or if you’re severely ill, in which case you should go to the Emergency Room,” said Whitman. “(Coronavirus) Testing won’t change what we can do for treatment, which is supportive at this time; and showing up in the Emergency Room does not mean that you will be tested for coronavirus.”

If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, CDC guidelines include isolating yourself at home for a minimum of 7 days and for at least 72 hours after your last symptoms. Guidelines for managing your health care at home include getting rest, staying hydrated, and isolating yourself in a specific room away from other people.

For more information on coronavirus and COVID-19, please visit the New York State Department of Health dedicated website: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

UVM Health Network has also launched a website dedicated to informing the public about the virus and the disease it causes. The website, www.uvmhealth.org/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx, includes updates with the latest information on COVID-19 in our region, answers to frequently asked questions about the disease, and educational resources from public health officials and experts at UVM Health Network.

You can help stop the spread of infection by:

  • Using soap and water, wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds each time you wash – especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If You Think You’re Sick

  • Contact your Primary Care Provider’s office and remain at home unless your health care provider instructs you otherwise.
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