Response & Readiness to Coronavirus
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the topic of conversation and concern in our global community. This message is intended to inform you, our northern New Mexico community, of our efforts at CHRISTUS St. Vincent and to provide you with basic information about COVID-19 that allows you to lead conversations with your friends, family and neighbors. To this end, please take a few minutes to watch this informative video we have shared with our own associates. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, CHRISTUS St. Vincent has been preparing for a local outbreak – an event we expect to occur in New Mexico. In managing situations such as these, we lean into the extensive training and collective expertise of our seasoned clinicians and administrators. As we monitor and evaluate the situation as it unfolds, we are preparing for every possible scenario.
CHRISTUS St. Vincent’s Five Ps of Readiness:
CHRISTUS St. Vincent is in active communication with the New Mexico Department of Health, the CDC and the CHRISTUS Health system so that our efforts are coordinated and proactive in response to this event. Our clinicians routinely prepare for caring for patients with infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Each year, at least two disaster preparedness drills are conducted per Joint Commission requirements. These drills are a powerful tool for practicing our team efforts to confront disaster and surge response challenges that the hospital might face, including natural disasters, mass casualty situations and infectious disease outbreaks.
The most important preventive measures we can all take to avoid getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 are simple: avoid close contact with people who are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care; and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do your best to maintain a healthy immune system: eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest.
CHRISTUS St. Vincent is currently operating under a restricted visitors policy through March 31, 2020 to protect our patients and visitors from another serious and highly contagious respiratory disease – the flu. Children under the age of twelve are restricted from visiting any area of the hospital. Individuals in poor health or who are immunocompromised are advised to avoid visiting the hospital during flu season, as this may increase their risk of catching influenza or worsening their condition. As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, our visitor restrictions may be heightened and/or extended to a later date.
In New Mexico, ONLY the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) can determine whether to test patients for COVID-19. CHRISTUS St. Vincent DOES NOT have the ability to test patients for COVID-19 without the direction from the DOH. Per CDC recommendations, CHRISTUS St. Vincent providers will carefully screen patients for symptoms of COVID-19. If appropriate, our providers will coordinate testing with the New Mexico Department of Health. Regarding individuals who independently believe they meet criteria and may have COVID-19, we are directing them to call the DOH at 505-827-0006.
CHRISTUS St. Vincent is working with local stakeholders, including city, county and state officials, local nursing schools and nurse educators to provide updates on hospital activities related to COVID-19 preparedness. This will ensure that we are all on the same page with our messaging. Information gleaned from our own internal experts, as well as the CDC website, will be distributed via this website and the CHRISTUS St. Vincent Facebook page.
To date, there are no effective treatments for COVID-19 . Researchers are testing some available drugs to see if they are effective against the virus. There is also a rush to create a vaccine since researchers already know the virus and its DNA composition. Once the vaccine is available, it will take time to prove its protective value. As this virus unfolds, we will continue to keep you informed.
President & CEO
CHRISTUS St. Vincent