COVID-19 Update from Joe Sluka, St. Charles Health System President & CEO

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(Photo | Courtesy of St. Charles Health System)

Many people have asked us what it’s like right now for our caregivers working on the front lines with COVID-19 patients. 

In this video, we give you an inside look at what goes on in the St. Charles Bend ICU when a patient with COVID-19 needs critical care. Even with the additional safety equipment, the stress and the fear of fighting this pandemic, our caregivers are proud to be here to serve our community and care for you and your loved ones.

Please take two minutes to watch the video and remember that you can help us by taking every precaution to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. 

Our Central Oregon numbers are fluctuating — both inside and outside of our hospitals. But the trends continue to show that interventions like masking, physically distancing and practicing good hand hygiene do make a difference. Thank you to those of you who are taking COVID-19 seriously. Your actions are saving lives. 

Your safety, our priority

Throughout our hospitals and clinics, St. Charles has put many safety precautions into place in order to protect you and our health care workforce. 

Protecting the safety of our caregivers has been our top priority since the beginning of the pandemic. We care about our team’s health and safety and we know that keeping them well is critical to ensuring they are able to care for you. 

Still, this is a highly contagious disease, and we have had 17 St. Charles caregivers test positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. None of these cases have been confirmed as due to a workplace exposure and many have been related to known community exposures.

With more than 4,500 employees, this was to be expected. But I want you to know that our St. Charles caregivers are all required to adhere to our universal masking policy and to immediately report any COVID-19 symptoms to our Caregiver Health team. If they have symptoms, they are tested and not allowed to return to work until it is safe for them to do so. We follow testing and work restriction guidelines for our staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oregon Health Authority. 

We take our responsibility to protect them and you very seriously. 

That’s why you will continue to experience screening questions at the entrances to our facilities. You’ll notice plexiglass dividers protecting you and our caregivers from each other. And it’s why this week we expanded and clarified our universal masking policy to ensure patients and visitors understand how it applies to them. Patients are required to wear a mask when inside any of our facilities unless they are asked to remove it by a healthcare provider. 

We greatly appreciate your help in adhering to our policies as we all continue to fight COVID-19 together.

stcharleshealthcare.org

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