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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2020 1 year ago

Health care providers prepare for COVID-19

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Orlando Health and AdventHealth are taking necessary steps and precautions to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Uncertainty looms over West Orange County, the state of Florida, the U.S. and the world as the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, continues to spread — but local health providers are doing everything they can to be prepared and keep the community healthy and safe.

That includes Orlando Health. Experts from across the healthcare system have met since January as part of an ongoing effort to prepare, prevent and treat emerging infectious disease threats.

“First and foremost, we want you to know that Orlando Health is prepared to care for COVID-19 cases and to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, team members and the communities we serve,” said Alayna Curry, manager of media relations and public affairs at Orlando Health. “Our experts in infectious diseases and emergency management are well informed about COVID-19 and are prepared to respond quickly and appropriately. We also stay in contact with public health agencies at the national, state and local levels as well as with our medical partners to ensure proper protocols are in place for patient and staff safety.”

All Orlando Health hospitals have done emergency preparedness drills in the event a COVID-19 patient is brought to a facility — as of March 13, all locations are screening visitors for symptoms of and exposure to coronavirus.

There’s also constant internal communication between frontline staff, physicians and nurses, managers and leadership. An internal web page serves as a resource for team members to review guidance material about COVID-19, ensuring that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for screening and managing potentially infected patients are followed.

Staff also is managing the placement and supply selection for hand hygiene stations throughout Orlando Health facilities.  

AdventHealth is taking necessary precautions as well, educating physicians and clinical teams on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Department of Health while screening all patients at entry points at all facilities.

Staff also is gathering information on patient travel history and symptoms through screening posters and questionnaires.

A multidisciplinary leadership team is working constantly to ensure AdventHealth has capacity, supplies, equipment and staffing to handle a potential coronavirus patient or influx of patients — that includes an adequate supply of masks, protective equipment for team members, wipes and hand sanitizers.

All AdventHealth hospitals are equipped to rapidly identify, isolate and care for a suspected or confirmed coronavirus patient.

“AdventHealth has a robust infection prevention program and policies that ensures patients, team members and the greater community are safeguarded should we treat a patient with coronavirus,” said Dr. Vincent Hsu, infection control officer for AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, in a statement. “Our hospitals and outpatient locations — including Centra Care and AdventHealth Medical Group practices — are prepared to treat a patient.”

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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