UW Health has updated the public on its preparedness plan for COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Dr. Nasia Safdar, Medical Director for Infection Control and Prevention at UW Health and Dr. Jeffrey Pothof, Chief Quality Officer at UW Health, discussed the status of COVID-19 and efforts to deal with potential spread.

UW Health is moving into the next phase of its emergency preparedness and has issued the following press release. Steps being taken include:

Community hotline established: As the number of cases in the United States increase, there is an increased focus on providing accurate information to community members with questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about COVID-19 or are considering being seen for possible COVID-19 at a clinic, urgent care, or the emergency department, please call the UW Health COVID-19 hotline at (608) 720-5300

Personal Protective Equipment monitoring: The very heavy flu season combined with COVID-19 has put a worldwide strain on personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and gowns, as well as hand sanitizing gel. UW Health is monitoring its supply and is deploying conservation steps, such as limited reuse of providers masks or allocating one mask per patient with symptoms. There are also things the public can do to help. If you do not have symptoms, wearing a mask provides no benefit and depletes the supply needed for those who are infected to prevent further community spread.

CDC Lab Testing Kits in Wisconsin. Up until this week, all potential Wisconsin COVID-19 cases had to be sent to the CDC Lab in Atlanta. But the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene has been cleared to administer tests locally which will decrease turnaround time for patients who meet testing criteria set forth by the CDC.

Leveraging Video and Telehealth Technologies. UW Health is moving forward with options for limiting exposure through technology, such as video visits between patients with symptoms and providers. UW Health offers Care Anywhere Video Visits, which gives patients easy, quick access to care providers using their computer, smart phone or tablet.

Emerging response. UW Health will continue to follow the CDC guidelines as they are updated.

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