COVID-19 Response

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COVID-19: CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital Information and Updates April 29, 2020

New Antibody Treatment For COVID-19 Patients Offered At CHRISTUS Community Clinic-Alexandria

 

Alexandria, Louisiana, Nov.14, 2020-As one of the first in Louisiana to administer, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System announced patients now have access to a monoclonal antibody therapy for treatment of mild-to-moderate SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). CHRISTUS Community Clinic has REGN-COV2 stocked and will start administering treatment Tuesday for COVID-19 positive patients who are at greater risk for hospitalization.

"This treatment can be life-saving to those who are most vulnerable to severe illness. Used as one of the treatments given to President Trump, he credited it for his speedy recovery from COVID-19. I am elated CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini will serve the community in this capacity by providing this treatment,” said Jose M. Zapatero, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System.

The emergency use of monoclonal antibodies was recently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 infection. These antibodies are proteins created in a lab that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off the virus.

Early results in clinical trials indicate monoclonal antibody therapy is beneficial when given early, before a patient’s immune system has mounted an antibody response. This means it is important for people to be evaluated by their physician or at an Urgent Care clinic at the first sign of symptoms.

The majority of people testing positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. The current supply is reserved for patients who are at increased risk for severe illness. Patients with at least three of the following underlying medical conditions qualify for the monoclonal antibody treatment: Coronary Artery Disease, Atrial Fibrillation, Congestive Heart Failure, Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 or 2, Acute Kidney Injury, Chronic Kidney Disease Stages 3 - 5, end-stage Renal Disease, or Morbid Obesity with a BMI > 40.

“The high-risk patient will complete blood work to check for the antibodies and a nasal swab to check for presence of the virus. If they do not have antibodies and the PCR test is positive, then they qualify for the monoclonal antibodies,” said Dr. Zapatero.

For high-risk COVID-19 positive patients being treated outside of CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System, providers can order the antibody test be done at the Cabrini Outpatient Lab. If the test is negative, the patient’s history and test results should then be provided to CHRISTUS Community Clinic. The monoclonal antibody therapy must be administered within 24 hours of obtaining the antibody test. It requires an intravenous infusion and monitoring after the procedure. Patients should expect the process to take up to eight hours. Modifications are expected to treatment criteria as information continues to evolve.

CHRISTUS Community Clinic is located at 3000 South MacArthur Drive.


 

Universal Masking

Effective 5/4: To make sure we continue to follow the CDC's recommendation for Universal Masking; we are asking all patients, visitors and employees to wear a mask while visiting our facilities.

Homemade cloth masks are appropriate for visiting our clinics, you can follow instructions to make a safe mask here.

We are committed to ensuring that our clinics continue to be a safe place to receive care – we appreciate your continued support and understanding as we implement these guidelines.


CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System to Resume Some Surgeries April 27

CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System is preparing to begin phasing in a number of procedures and surgeries on April 27, consistent with the provisions of the Governor John Bel-Edwards original order on April 20.

The revised guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health initially covers medical procedures and surgeries performed in order to treat an emergency medical condition, to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease, and for time sensitive conditions.

State officials have outlined the process will begin with allowing for procedures that have already been postponed for 30 days to be reassessed. If the physician approves and there is appropriate documentation in the patient’s medical record, the procedure should be allowed to proceed. As these procedures resume, state officials will monitor the situation closely, including for an increase in ICU patients and/or ventilator utilization.

Our facilities have secured the personal protective equipment (PPE) and excess capacity necessary to safely care for the full spectrum of medical conditions and patient needs that we have worked so hard to address in our communities for more than 150 years.

We are working with physicians now to reschedule their patients for medical and surgical procedures they were forced to postpone due to the initial order. While we all understand the reason that these procedures had to be postponed, waiting has imposed a hardship on many of these patients, as many can no longer delay care for heart disease, cancer, pain, vision problems and other conditions. We are working to avoid a surge in illness and suffering as a result of deferred and delayed care.

“Sometimes, these procedures that have been delayed or deferred are related to quality of life issues and how people go about their daily lives,” said Chris Karam, Chief Executive Officer, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System. “Looking beyond just today, quite a few of these procedures will even help patients live longer, healthier lives. Getting these folks back to our operating rooms when medically necessary as quickly as possible is so important, but just like with our surgeries and other procedures, we must ensure our patients, Associates and physicians are safe. That’s how we’ve operated at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System for decades,” Karam said.

CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System practices infection prevention every day. In addition, the CHRISTUS Health system is leading the Central Louisiana community, and the country, by recently announcing the rolling out antibody testing for surgical patients. This new screening tool allows the hospital to test patients for antibodies related to the COVID-19 virus, helping it to identify how each patient should receive care and how to keep its caregivers and patients safe.

Not only that, but CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini has been steadily working and planning to continue providing necessary, non-COVID care to keep people safe and healthy. To keep all who enter our facilities safe, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini continues to have these following precautions in place:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
  • Temperature checks for all Associates;
  • Requiring everyone on our campuses to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.

This may be an unprecedented time, but we have experienced many of these since CHRISTUS was founded 154 years ago. In fact, the first three Sisters who started the CHRISTUS ministry in Galveston faced an epidemic of Yellow Fever within the first six months of opening the very first hospital. Epidemics and tragedies have been part of CHRISTUS’ history, and so too has the resolve, after each of those challenges, to move on in love and service to those in need.

“CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System is answering the call to help our community – today and tomorrow. In all that we do, we are devoted to keeping patients, their families, our caregivers and our Associates safe. And we are here when you need care. We are ready,” Karam said.


April 14, 2020

CHRISTUS Health Offers ‘Game Changer’ Antibodies Test for COVID-19

CHRISTUS Health System is first in the communities it serves to offer new screening tool

CHRISTUS Health announced today it is now offering a new screening tool to some patients, as well as doctors, nurses and other CHRISTUS Associates on the frontlines to learn who has been infected with COVID-19—AND—who might now carry protective antibodies.

“CHRISTUS Health is a safe place to receive care, with high-reliability processes and procedures for infection prevention and mitigating the spread of illness,” explained Dr. Sam Bagchi, CHRISTUS Health’s EVP and Chief Clinical Officer. “Beginning today, we are adding the unprecedented additional layer of antibody screening to help survey for asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among patients and caregivers.”

For the last several weeks, the team has quickly assessed the test’s reliability and then deployed the kits to CHRISTUS hospitals and ambulatory sites across the United States and Latin America. The test produces results in approximately 10 minutes and has been validated internally for screening for COVID-19 infections.

“CHRISTUS is the first in our communities, and is leading the nation by using advanced COVID-19 antibody testing to screen people in our facilities to determine if they have had a COVID-19 infection in the past or have one now,” said Dave Benner, PharmD, MS, MHA, FACHE Vice President, Clinical Ancillary Services.

The country’s leading scientists believe antibody-based tests to be essential in the war against COVID-19.

“This would be a game-changer in restarting parts of the economy more quickly and safely,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a professor in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in an April 1 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CHRISTUS will first begin using the test on Associates and caregivers on the frontlines. The rapid screening tool will also be used on hospitalized patients that the clinical team believes may have been infected with COVID-19 as well as patients who are scheduled for an urgent surgery.

“People should not put off urgent and emergent procedures, and should continue to seek the care they need. We know that, regardless of COVID-19, heart attacks and strokes have not stopped. We need to be able to treat people who urgently need to be in an operating room,” said Dr. Bagchi. “With the availability of an antibody test, we can test anyone who comes in for an urgent surgery. This will allow us to reliably know if a patient has COVID-19 before they start having symptoms or might normally be tested.”

This innovative screening solution is in an addition to the ongoing PCR tests many providers, including CHRISTUS, are able to perform. PCR is a laboratory technique known as polymerase chain reaction, and is the current FDA-approved test for diagnosing patients with COVID-19.

This is part of the work that CHRISTUS continues to do every day to keep its facilities safe from the spread of infection. To keep all who enter hospitals and clinics safe we have added the following precautions:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
  • Random temperature checks for Associates;
  • Requiring all Associates and visitors to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.
  • Virtual medicine is now available in every one of the CHRISTUS ministries at christushealth.org/virtual-medicine

Universal Masking

The health and safety of our patients, visitors, Associates and our communities remain of utmost importance. Beginning Monday, April 6, patients and visitors will be required to bring their own mask to wear while in our hospitals or outpatient clinics. You can learn more about how to make your own cloth masks by visiting the CDC website. Our health professionals providing care for presumed COVID-19 or known COVID-19 patients are expected to wear N95 respirator masks. Hospitalized patients do not have to wear a mask while in their rooms.


March 20, 2020 - 9 a.m.

Updated CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital Visitor Guidelines

The Louisiana Department of Health recently announced they will now require all licensed health care facilities in the state to restrict visitors to those deemed essential, vital or necessary for the care and well-being of our patients.

CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini wants to assure the people of this community who trust in us for their health care that we are prepared and stand ready to care for our community. Because our goal is to ensure our hospital continues to be a safe place to receive care, we are following CDC guidelines and implementing new visitation restrictions. The goal of these updated visitor procedures is to limit the risk of exposure to our patients, visitors, Associates, physicians and volunteers.

Visitors will be guided to designated entrances in which visitor screening stations are available.

  • Emergency Department (24/7)
  • Labor and Delivery Sky Walk (From Garage to Women’s Pavilion) (24/7)
  • Texas Avenue OP Entrance (5 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily)

We are also limiting the number of visitors. In all areas, we are restricting visitors to 1 visitor per patient for a 24 hour period. All visitors are required to go through screening at one of the 3 entrances.

  • Surgery Patients: 1 Visitor
  • Same Day Procedure: 1 Visitor
  • Critical Care: 1 Visitor
  • Medical-Surgical Units: 1 Visitor
  • Labor and Delivery: 1 Support
  • Pediatrics: 1 Support
  • NICU: 1 Visitor

We want to be perfectly clear – CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini remains a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients and their families, our Associates and this community we serve.


CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System Statement Regarding COVID-19

With the recent announcement of a positive case of COVID-19 in Rapides Parish, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System wants to assure the people of this region who trust in us for their health care – we are prepared and stand ready to care for our community. The health care community, including CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini, is united in our commitment to responding to the needs of all patients safely and effectively. 

On March 19, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini received a presumptive positive result for a patient with COVID-19. Out of respect for our patient and in following HIPAA guidelines, we are limited in what we can share. We can say that we tested, identified and isolated this patient.. 

We want to be perfectly clear – CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System remains a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients and their families, our Associates and this community we serve. 

We continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for health care facilities, and our providers are working together non-stop and with authorities and our local health care community to prepare and respond when called upon. The CDC guidelines and our efforts are in place to ensure public health and to ensure our hospital is a safe place for all to receive care. 

Across CHRISTUS, we will continue our standard process of screening patients at our clinical points of access for relevant travel history, to assess for various evolving infectious disease risks, including this one. If a patient meets the CDC criteria, and is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus, we will isolate the patient in a room and take proper respiratory precautions to safely assess and treat the patient. We continue to remain vigilant in responding to this evolving situation, meeting daily to ensure we are prepared and continuing to follow CDC’s guidelines for patient isolation and cleaning.

We suggest that everyone follow the CDC guidelines regarding prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 and the flu. The best things anyone can do to prevent the spread of illness are:

  1. wash your hands well before eating, drinking or touching your face 
  2. get your annual flu shot and 
  3. get a pneumonia shot if you have not already and are above the age of 65 or have diabetes or other illnesses that affect your heart or lungs.

In addition, we advise anyone who may be ill with fever and cough or shortness of breath and have had travel to any region that has known community spread of COVID-19, please contact your primary care provider before visiting their office so they can be sure to provide you with the best care possible while doing everything we can to keep our community healthy. For more information on COVID-19 and preventive measures, please visit www.CDC.gov.


March 14, 2020 - 4:00 p.m.

CHRISTUS Health Statement Regarding COVID-19

We continue to work in solidarity with our partners in the health care community, city and county leaders, and local health authorities to ensure our community is well prepared. Together, we stand united in our commitment to keep the people we serve safe.

At CHRISTUS, we remain vigilant in responding to this evolving situation, meeting throughout the day to ensure we are prepared to respond to present and potential future needs of our community. We continue to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for healthcare facilities located in areas, like ours, that are not experiencing community spread. We do have emergency preparedness plans in place and are fully prepared to execute as appropriate for our community circumstances.

CHRISTUS facilities remain a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all of our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients. Every single day.


March 3, 2020

CHRISTUS Health Statement Regarding COVID-19

CHRISTUS values the importance of collaboration and coordinated action for the identification and care of those patients exhibiting signs of the COVID-19. Which is why we continue to follow CDC interim guidelines and work non-stop, in partnership with local, state and federal government authorities. We are fortunate to be part of a local health care community committed to responding to the needs of these patients in the safest manner necessary.

In the event that possible coronavirus patients need hospitalization after screening, we have identified a portion of our facility as the best place to allow us to isolate and safely care for any potential patients without risk of transmission to other parts of the facility.

At CHRISTUS, we have always screened patient to our clinical points of access for international travel, to assess for various evolving infectious disease risks, including this one. If a patient meets the current CDC criteria, and is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus, we will isolate the patient in a private room and take proper respiratory precautions to safely assess and treat them

If you are ill with fever and cough or shortness of breath and have had travel to any region that has known community spread of coronavirus, please contact your primary care provider before coming to the clinic so we can be sure to provide you with the best care possible while doing everything we can to keep our community healthy.

It’s still flu season. We continue to encourage all our patients and the community to practice good respiratory hygiene habits, like washing hands frequently and covering mouths while coughing especially during times like this where catching the flu is a far greater risk.

In summary, the best things you can do to prevent the spread of illness are:

  • Wash your hands well before eating, drinking, or touching your face
  • Get your annual flu shot and
  • Get a pneumonia shot if you have not already and are above the age of 65 or have diabetes or other illnesses that affect your heart or lungs.

CHRISTUS Health currently convenes daily, sometimes more, to check in on our emergency preparedness plans. We have had many hands on deck during this process. Nearly everyone — from physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — is involved in making sure we can do best for our patients our Associates and this community we serve.

For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 visit CDC.gov.