coronavirus state public health lab

Disclaimer from the author: COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation. Please be aware that any information shared can change at any time.

 ---

This is not a hurricane, a nor’easter that floods the beaches, or an earthquake. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is not going to wash away or dry up like these natural disasters.

We urge you to continue to follow the Delaware Division of Public Health and CDC guidelines to stay inside, social distance, and seek appropriate medical care if necessary. Thank you to all who have. Community spread is happening in Delaware and we are in a critical time to flatten the curve and not overwhelm healthcare systems across the region.

Beebe continues to move forward and to evolve our strategies daily for this attacking COVID-19 crisis. We have refined three strategies to focus on achieving during the coming weeks.

Screen and test patients in our community

While it is not responsible to test every resident, we are committed to screening as many as possible – even by phone. Then those in need of testing have the options in place set by Beebe at its car-based referral-based testing sites. You don’t even have to get out of your car. We have set a COVID-19 Screening Line for those without access to primary care (302-645-3200). With a simple call and drive, you can safely be tested while practicing isolation and social distancing – essential if you are not feeling well. An in-person visit isn’t necessarily needed, your provider will consult with you.

Our intention has been to share advice from state and national health authorities so that we do not overwhelm primary care offices, walk-ins, or emergency departments. The emergency department should only be used for emergency care. This also helps Beebe conserve a vital resource: personal protective equipment that is in short supply. These protocols not only assist you, but also help us keep our team safe.

Optimizing our operations to care for patients and staff

We have made every effort to slow community spread with this process. That does not mean we are not prepared for a sudden surge. The next pillar of our strategy is to make sure that every scenario is accounted for – we optimize beds and space at our Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus for a surge, but we also rethink our colleagues’ roles.

Many highly-skilled team members can assist from outpatient areas that are no longer as busy with the cancellation of elective procedures and suspension of certain diagnostic testing. We are training and preparing our teams now to take care of our community if a surge does indeed happen.

I can promise you – all options are being considered.

Working with our gracious community for resources

I gained a great sense of the community’s gratitude to its local healthcare system when I was interviewing to become Beebe’s next President & CEO. Now I’ve been completely blown away from all who have reached out looking to donate items, food, or funds.

So many have reached out to donate much needed medical supplies such as N95 masks, gowns, face shields – and many have offered to hand-sew masks! Our gratitude is eternal.

We are in need of equipment such as this and have a process set up for donations. To donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund – which will be used to help purchase medical equipment, supplies, and costs directly associated with patient care – visit https://www.beebehealthcare.org/covid19-relief or call the Beebe Medical Foundation at 302-644-2900.

For items like food, medical supplies, homemade materials, or other non-monetary donations, please contact Beebe’s Population Health team at 302-645-3337. Of course, we will be ensuring that all donated items meet the proper infection prevention and safety standards to ensure our team member’s and patient’s safety. If you have questions on how you can help, call the Population Health team.

Lastly, I will continue to work with state and local leaders to collaborate on improving the health of our communities during this crisis. Soon, you will be able to have your questions answered as we are organizing a virtual town hall.

We are holding these for our staff and you to make sure that we stick together during this time. We are Beebe and we are here for you.

 ---

David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, assumed the role of Beebe Healthcare President & CEO on March 17. He is a distinguished and accomplished administrator and has experiences as an officer in the United States Navy and in large public health systems. He completed his pediatrics residency at the US Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, and a pediatric neurology fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia.