COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Beebe Healthcare is taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. In an effort to keep our community information, we have provided the following answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
The respiratory virus, first identified in Wuhan, China, has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes is known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people. Others have mild symptoms and may not know they have the illness, thus allowing it to spread more quickly.
The virus is spread person to person. If a person with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, the droplets may land on a surface. Then if you touch that surface, then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, you could become infected. Additionally, if you are near a person with COVID-19, they could cough and the droplets in the air could be inhaled by you, causing spread of infection.
It is important to wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others in all public places. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently.
Stay home as often as possible and only go out to stores for essential items. If you are working at a restaurant or store at this time, be sure to wear your mask, maintain distancing, and wash or sanitize hands regularly. Wash your mask regularly at home and avoid touching your face. Sanitize all surfaces, especially high-traffic surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, tables, chairs, etc.
Prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and only going out for essential items if possible. If you are an essential employee, be sure to wear your mask, wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer regularly. Avoid touching your face at all times. Clean surfaces regularly with a disinfecting spray or wipe. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Stay home when you are sick.
The best way to stay safe is to stay home. Do not engage with large groups. Avoid crowded stores. If you must go out, wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from all other people. Regularly disinfect touched surfaces including your steering wheel, door knobs, surfaces touched by multiple people.
Wearing a mask is required at all Beebe care sites. Wearing a mask is important because it protects yourself and others in the community. Wearing a mask prevents air-borne particles from directly entering your mouth or nose. It also reminds you not to touch your face. Studies show wearing a mask, even a cloth mask, helps prevent the spread of viruses.
Continue to stay healthy by exercising or moving your body daily, eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and getting outside.
Prior to being referred to testing, each person is screened by a medical professional. The screening includes questions about symptoms and possibly a temperature scan if done in person. Once the screening determines the person might have COVID-19, then the person is referred through a physician order or provider order to a testing location. Testing is done at specific testing locations via a nasal or saliva (mouth) swab. The specimens collected are sent to a lab to determine if a person has the coronavirus (COVID-19). To be tested through a physician referral, you should have symptoms or know you were in contact with someone with COVID-19.
Beebe and the state of Delaware also offer car-based and walk-up testing regularly throughout the state. These testing events do not require a physician order or an appointment. Those who do not have symptoms can also be tested at these testing events. If you are looking for an upcoming testing, please visit Beebe's Facebook page or go to https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing.
If you may have had contact with a person who has COVID-19 or you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you can also self-monitor yourself while quarantined at home. Beebe offers a self-monitoring form where you can track your symptoms on our COVID-19 Resource Center.
Beebe is partnering with the state of Delaware and other health organizations to increase the amount of testing in Sussex County. By hosting numerous car-based and walk-up testing events, while continuing to provide physician-referral testing, Beebe hopes to allow for testing for anyone who needs it.
The CDC and WHO recommend testing patients as they report symptoms. If you have symptoms, call your primary care provider to be referred for testing. If you do not have a provider, call Beebe's Coronavirus Screening Line at 302-645-3200. You can expect to be asked questions first and then will be scheduled for testing, if warranted. The national protocols for testing is that only those with symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat) are being tested.
Beebe has plans in place for both surges of COVID-19 patients in our hospital and also for recovery stages when fewer COVID-19 patients need hospitalization. We were able to work through the first surge in April - May 2020, however we understand that predictive models expect there to be additional surges in the future.
We have developed and refined our surge capacity plans to care for more patients than would be our usual maximum level under another type of crisis or emergency. There is a four-stage surge plan that will allow us to methodically increase our capacity for the people who come to our campus.
As we exit the first surge, we are cautiously planning for the future. We are reactivating surgery and elective procedures which were postponed in March. These procedures are being performed now and we hope to continue to move forward and allow these procedures to continue. Learn about our Recovery phase.
Like all healthcare organizations, medical supplies are a big concern. It is difficult to estimate the number of patients we might have in the hospital in the coming days, weeks or months, so we have to do our best to preserve our supplies and reach out to state and federal partners to procure additional supplies.
We are also working with the community to receive donated medical supplies. Learn more about what Beebe's needs are at this time.
Every person entering our facilities is screened, which means they are asked a series of questions and have their temperatures taken. This protects our team and our community members who are in the hospital.
By screening everyone at the door, we prevent those who are potentially sick with COVID-19 from interacting with others and possibly spreading the illness. In addition, by self-monitoring, our team members are able to track their symptoms to determine if they might need to be tested for COVID-19.
Any team member who is tested is duty-bound to report the findings – positive or negative – to Beebe’s Employee Health team.
In addition, anyone entering one of our locations will notice safety precautions, including Plexiglas at registration desks and check-in locations, visual cues on the floor and seats to remind you of physical distancing, and increased mask wearing by both medical and professional staff. Everyone entering a Beebe care site must wear a mask.
We have also instituted new check-in protocols in some cases. All imaging and lab work now require an appointment. Some locations are utilizing car-based check-ins and waiting, instead of having patients in the waiting area inside. With a physician order, call to make your appointment: 302-645-3278.
Our team has been working tirelessly as the COVID-19 situation develops and as part of that work we have developed surge plans for when the number of patients seeking medical care rises. We have surge plans in place so that our team can rise to meet the need, including increased staffing, additional support, and community resources to help team members who might need childcare, rooming, and other needs.
Instead of furloughing team members as other organizations have had to do, Beebe has instead retained all of our team members and is rapidly adding more to help share the burden when the surge of patients in our facility happens.
By retaining all of our team members, we are able to retrain team members to do jobs that they maybe were not hired to do. This allows our team to be available so we can be flexible based on the circumstances of the day or week.
We are working with our team members to provide mental health breaks, emotional support, and financial resources through our vendor partners to ease their burdens during this emergency.
Beebe needs community support during this crisis. We are asking for donations of supplies and monetary funding to help us provide testing, procure medical supplies, and support our team members.
We have received huge levels of support from our community and we thank you for that! Hear from Dr. Tam thanking all those who have given and learn what your support does at Beebe.
Both Beebe and the Delaware Division of Public Health are regularly providing updated information on our websites. Go to www.beebehealthcare.org and click on the banner to view our information and updates. For the Division of Public Health, which is tracking state cases of COVID-19, go to https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing.
In addition, we are regularly sharing tips and information on our Facebook page @BeebeHealthcare.
It is important to read and share valid information during this time. Sources such as CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) are great places to find the facts.