As the number of cases of flu has swelled throughout Delaware, Beebe Medical Center held an initial Jan. 10 meeting to implement its flu plan, which is part of the organization’s well-established Emergency Management Plan.
The Emergency Department has taken steps to handle an influx of patients with flu-like symptoms, should that happen.
Telephone operators and greeters at the hospital campus in Lewes have been provided with instructions to screen visitors to the hospital who exhibit cold-like or flu-like symptoms such as a cough or runny nose. If these visitors feel that they must visit, they will be required to wear a mask for the safety of patients, staff, and other visitors.
“Patient safety is of highest importance at Beebe Medical Center,” said Paul Minnick, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our team is prepared in the event of a serious influx of patients due to the flu outbreak. In the meantime, we always follow infection control practices, and we encourage everyone to practice excellent hand washing, cover a cough and avoid being around others when flu-like symptoms are present.”
Clinical personnel were reminded of the protocols in the written flu plan that include the use of masks in the rooms of patients with flu, as well as the initiation of droplet precautions and cleaning procedures that assure infection control.
Beebe Medical Center’s Flu Plan, if implemented, provides for designated areas to care for and isolate flu patients. Beebe Medical Center’s lab has been performing flu tests on outpatient and inpatient samples. Between Dec. 1, 2012, and Jan. 10, 2013, 863 tests have been performed. Of those, 154 tested positive to Influenza A, and eight tested positive to Influenza B.
However, at this time, they have five inpatients with influenza.
Beebe Medical Center will work closely with other hospitals and public health preparedness section in the state, if necessary. Information will be shared and updated with all those involved and current supply information and needs will be shared.
Anyone who feels that they may have flu-like symptoms should contact their primary care physicians and use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website www.cdc.gov/flu as a resource. They should only go to the Emergency Department if they need emergency care.
Any person planning to visit the hospital patients who has cold or flu-like symptoms should avoid coming to the hospital. They are taking this step to ensure the safety of patients.