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UW Medicine Communications Regarding COVID-19

Message from Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO, UW Medicine

I write to provide information regarding communications related to COVID-19. UW Medicine clinical leaders are working with CDC, state and county public health leaders and others to coordinate our clinical responses with the community. Our leadership team will be providing regular updates on The Huddle. Please see the link to yesterday’s update. Over the coming days and weeks, the UW Medicine Incident Command Team will be providing regular updates. The Huddle site will also include updated FAQs and links to key resources. I ask that you check Huddle on a daily basis to review new information.

Many individuals in UW Medicine have spent countless hours over the last few weeks to prepare for the possibility of a COVID-19 pandemic. We are fortunate to have the expert clinical and research leadership to contribute to the community response network. Effective communication will now be vital to support all members of the UW Medicine community as we strive to ensure that you and your friends and families have the best support possible to be safe and healthy. Please check The Huddle each day for information to guide your work and to support the health of our workforce.

UW Medicine Incident Command Update

Incident Command: UW Medicine’s Incident Command (IC) structure is fully operational today with the goal of ensuring consistency in our COVID-19 response and communications across the health system. Teams have been formed to focus on specific issues such as operations, infection prevention and control protocols, ambulatory care, education and training, logistics and human resources. Hospitals and clinics share their best practices with the IC to ensure continuity across the system. Especially important is communications. We want to present a unified message to our patients, providers and employees. This includes signage, web content, discharge instructions and other materials. Please do not re-invent the wheel. Experts have been identified across the system to develop policies, protocols and communication materials to help streamline processes. As needs arise in your areas of work, please contact your leadership who can access the IC and its experts who can help develop the materials and processes you need. Daily updates will be provided on The Huddle.

UW Medicine COVID-19 Test:  The UW Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory in the Department of Laboratory Medicine is now offering a PCR-based test developed by Dr. Alex Greninger with presumptive positive tests subsequently being sent to the state public health lab and/or CDC for confirmatory testing. We are actively developing clinical testing guidelines to ensure appropriate use of this resource and avoid unnecessary testing.

Situation Report: Public Health – Seattle & King County announced today four additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County residents, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 14. King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an Emergency Declaration, enabling county government to take extra steps to fight COVID-19. Among the first actions: purchasing a motel and setting up modular housing units on publicly-owned parking lots and other available land.

Nationally, 43 people have been diagnosed with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 in 10 states. The World Health Organization reports a total of 88,948 confirmed cases globally as of March 2, 2020. In China, 80,174 confirmed cases and 2,915 deaths have been reported. The CDC has issued travel alerts for the following countries and territories: China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.

Coronavirus Disease 2019: Preparing for Potential Pandemic (Video): At the Leadership Development Institute on Feb. 28, Dr. Tim Dellit, chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist, provided information on the COVID-19 outbreak. He discussed how the current outbreak compares to other pandemics and how you can support UW Medicine’s systemwide preparations. Dr. Dellit also talked about the likelihood of widespread transmission in our community and stated his confidence that we have the expertise at UW Medicine to meet this challenge successfully. Watch video.