University of Iowa Health Care Offers New Options for Patients in Preparation for Influenza and 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Video visits and care centers for testing are now available for patients.
With the increasing numbers of Johnson County and Iowa residents affected with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and influenza, University of Iowa Health Care is implementing additional programs to diagnose and treat patients.
“We know our community and state depends on us now more than ever to provide excellence in patient care,” says Suresh Gunasekaran, chief executive officer of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, and associate vice president for University of Iowa Health Care. “The health and safety of patients and staff is our highest priority.”
New programs for influenza and COVID-19
UI Health Care has implemented two new programs to improve accessibility of care to those who may be ill:
A video visit option is now available for patients with influenza-like symptoms or COVID-19 health concerns. Patients can schedule a video visit through their MyChart account or by calling 1-800-777-8442. Patients will be asked to download Vidyo, a secure video service used for these visits.
Screening clinics for influenza- and COVID-19:
Once a patient has been seen by a health care provider through a video visit they may be directed to a dedicated UI Health Care clinic for influenza or COVID-19 testing. These clinics safely and effectively evaluate patients and allow them to return home to wait for results.
Visitors are limited to one adult (age 18 and older) per adult patient per day in most circumstances.
Those visitors under the age of 18 may visit only if they are considered by the patient’s health care team to be essential for the patient’s well-being.
Pediatric patients are allowed two adult visitors – parents or legal guardians only – per day.
Additional friends or family members can keep our community healthier by using phone or video technology to connect with loved ones who are hospitalized rather than waiting in public spaces, where person-to-person transmission of illness can happen.
All visitors must be healthy; no one will be allowed to visit who exhibits signs or symptoms of an influenza-like illness, which includes a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with new or worsening cough or sore throat. Visitors with certain other symptoms, such as runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, vomiting, or diarrhea should also postpone their visits.
“We are asking the community’s help in limiting the number of people who come to visit on our campus, and ensuring everyone is well,” says Gunasekaran. “We know it is difficult to not see a loved one who may be hospitalized, but it is important to help keep everyone safe.”
Safety precautions for staff
UI Health Care faculty and staff are well-trained in safety precautions through continuous education and frequent drills. Additional communications, training and drills have been underway since January. Other measures, such as conservation of personal protective equipment like face masks, gloves and sanitizer are also in place.
“We continue to follow the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Iowa Department of Public Health, and our clinical experts,” adds Gunasekaran. “The goal is to keep our staff healthy so we can continue to provide the care needed by the community.”
Reminder to practice good hygiene
Everyone can play a role in keeping our community safe by practicing good hygiene:
- Use a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
- Do not use your hands when coughing or sneezing to cover your mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands often.
- Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Maintain a safe distance.
- Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of getting ill.