During the first phase of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our clinics have remained open for those patients who needed to be seen urgently while shifting visits to telehealth whenever possible as we privileged over 2,500 providers in telehealth and performed over 14,000 telehealth visits during the month of April. This outstanding effort has greatly advanced our telehealth capabilities and will serve us well in the future.
As we continue to see a gradual reduction in COVID-19 cases in our community, we are now pivoting to our recovery phase by expanding our primary and specialty care, as well as select services, for our patients on Monday, May 4. Although Governor Inslee has announced the extension of the Washington state stay-at-home order, our plans to expand in-person clinic visits are consistent with this order, which recognizes the importance of providing in-person care for the health of our patients. In addition, we will continue to offer telehealth visits when appropriate.
As we resume services, we will be increasing capacity gradually based on the timeline that has been developed for each clinic. We will also strictly adhere to the many new policies and procedures that we have implemented as part of the COVID-19 Prevention & Control Bundle to provide in-person care safely for both employees and patients, including, but not limited to:
- Proactive COVID-19 testing of patients prior to surgical procedures.
- Proactive COVID-19 testing of all hospitalized patients.
- Mandatory screening (self-attestation) of all UW Medicine employees.
- Mandatory stay at home for all UW Medicine staff and faculty who are ill, with access to rapid testing for COVID-19.
- Universal masking of all UW Medicine employees, patients and visitors in our hospitals and clinics.
- Physical distancing of patients and employees at all clinics and hospitals.
- Continued visitor restrictions.
- The use of telehealth for patients when appropriate.
- Ongoing efforts to ensure the highest level of safety.
We will continue to monitor information about COVID-19 and adapt our care practices to reflect the latest recommendations from our UW Medicine experts in the fields of infectious disease and virology and from healthcare organizations such as Public Health - Seattle & King County, Washington State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.