U.P.M.C. outlines plan to fight COVID-19 in weekly press conference

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — U.P.M.C. outlined their plan to continue fighting the coronavirus in their weekly press conference Friday morning.

“COVID-19 is here but not necessarily as intensely active or widespread as other regions of the country,” says Graham Snyder, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology at U.P.M.C.

U.P.M.C. says there are now 141 positive cases of COVID-19 across their 40 hospital system, with 25 of those people currently being hospitalized.

With more and more patients needing beds, Rachel Sackrowitz, Chief Medical Officer with U.P.M.C. ICU Service, says hospitals are doing their part to create more.

“Every hospital in our system is creating a plan to take care of as much as 200% of their capacity.”

The health system is also switching how the way they would normally conduct a doctor’s appointment, at a rapid rate.

“Patients who have a new need for care, those who have a chronic condition that needs more assessment and more care, post-acute follow-up and visits and even mental health aid…we can serve our patients and our partners well using this advanced video capability,” says Donald Yealy, Chair for the Department of Medicine, U.P.M.C and the University of Pittsburgh.

They say they’ve had more visits done via video in the past week than all of last year. U.P.M.C is also utilizing telemedicine video calls to help each other.

“So that specialist at one hospital, say a critical care doctor here at U.P.M.C, can work with a clinician at a hospital all the way across the state and provide care to ICU patients there,” says Sackrowitz.

Snyder says along with social distancing, steps to stay safe are easier than you may think.

“If you have a household cleaner that says kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, that’s great it will do the job. Then, of course, wash your hands and respiratory etiquette which is coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow.”

U.P.M.C says their facilities are stacked with supplies like N95 masks, face shields and gowns and that they are not facing a shortage.

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