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.
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 maintain physical distance from others, especially when in public places. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer frequently.
Here is a flyer from Delaware Health and Social Services that provides more information on how to protect yourself. DOWNLOAD FLYER.
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 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, stay 6 feet away from all other people. Regularly disinfect touched surfaces including your steering wheel, door knobs, surfaces touched by multiple people.
Additionally in early April, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like at grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission in light of this new evidence from studies.
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 swab. The specimens collected are sent to a lab to determine if a person has the coronavirus (COVID-19).
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 page.
Beebe is following the recommendations of the CDC and WHO at this time when it comes to testing. As patients report symptoms, we have a process in place to screen them and then, if warranted, test them for COVID-19. At this time, the national protocols for testing is that only those with symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat) are being tested.
Beebe believes we should be screening as many people as possible multiple times during this pandemic. Being tested prematurely will not really help you or us in negating the spread. It can provide a false sense of security.
Beebe is planning for when a surge of patients happens. At this time, we do not know when the surge will happen here in Sussex County, but we do know that it will happen.
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.
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. They are asked a series of questions and have their temperature 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.
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.
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 yellow 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/.
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.