Updated daily around 5:30 p.m. (last updated 3/31 at 4:42 p.m.)
Health care workers are among the groups prioritized for COVID-19 testing at the Brigham. As a result, we would expect a higher number of identified cases among our employee population. The percent of health care workers tested who are positive for COVID-19 at the Brigham is 50% less than the positivity rate of the general population that has been tested. A very small percentage of our employee cases are the result of workplace exposure. In response to the few cases that were, we’ve intensified our PPE standards and have recently moved to a universal masking strategy. Overall, transmission between colleagues or from patient to provider remains rare.
The safety of our patients and workforce is our highest priority. We have implemented a PPE conservation strategy that will allow us to deploy PPE to the members of our workforce who are most at risk of exposure, now and throughout this pandemic. As much as is practicable, we will centralize the supply of mission-critical PPE to optimize proper use and avoid misuse, including use of a designated distribution center for staff to obtain N95 masks, surgical masks, procedural masks, and face shields or goggles.
As the need to provide access for COVID-19 testing grows, beginning on Wednesday, March 18, Brigham and Women’s Hospital will utilize the rear, outdoor parking lot at the Boylston Street location as a drive-thru testing facility for patients deemed eligible for COVID-19 screening. The outdoor testing facility will consist of a large, drive-thru tent, which will allow patients to stay in their vehicles while in a secure and controlled environment. Testing will require a prior appointment, and walk-in/drive-up testing will not be available. If patients believe they need to be tested, they should contact their health care provider.
As part of our PPE conservation efforts, we have instituted a new policy for the reuse and extended use of disposable surgical and procedural masks and protective eye wear. These can be reused for one shift only, and only if they are not soiled, contaminated, or physically damaged.
Additionally, students (medical, nursing and across the health professions) are not to be assigned to the direct care of patients on any form of precautions or any procedural or surgical areas that require PPE.
As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, it is inevitable that health care workers will be infected, as is now the case at the Brigham. We are in the process of contacting patients and staff who may have been exposed.
We have been in close contact with the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission and we will continue to follow their and CDC’s guidance, as well as the advice of our own infectious diseases experts as the situation continues to evolve.
The Brigham Health community has been preparing for this eventuality and has taken every precaution to protect our patients, their loved ones and our staff during this unprecedented pandemic.
March 17: In a virtual press conference, Maddy Pearson DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President, Clinical Services and Trish Powers, RN, clinical nurse in the OR and chair of the MNA bargaining committee, answered questions about the hospital’s preparedness efforts and highlighted the remarkable dedication, compassion and care of our nurses.
March 10: What We Know about COVID-19
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