An important update on break rooms and physical distancing

An important update on break rooms and physical distancing

As the number of caregivers who test positive for COVID-19 or are quarantined has risen beyond 1,000, we are focused on implementing additional safety measures to protect you. As part of this, we will temporarily close all small, shared break rooms (less than 200 sq. ft.) in clinical areas for congregating purposes in all Ohio and Florida locations.

This will be in effect Wednesday, Nov. 25 until further notice. Caregivers should only enter break rooms when storing and retrieving personal items in lockers. (Indian River and Martin Health will implement this change at a later date.)

At each facility, we have identified other locations caregivers can use for breaks. Please ensure you maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others. View alternative locations.

We acknowledge patient care responsibilities may require you to work closely with several other caregivers at one time. However, we need to look at ways to minimize the gathering of caregivers in close quarters outside of providing care to patients. This is another way we can further support physical and social distancing, when possible.

This will also help prevent further infections that could potentially impact our capacity and ability to keep each other and our patients safe.

Please remember:

  • To be mindful of your distance from others in all areas.
  • Avoid congregating with more than one other person in small spaces at a time. This includes while rounding, eating and occupying workstations.
  • Keep tables, chairs and signage where they are placed in cafeterias. Do not move chairs or group tables together. These spaces are set up to support physical and social distancing. Follow instructions on all signage, including the cleaning cards in seating areas.
  • Properly wear your face mask at and outside of work. This includes all times when sharing spaces with individuals who do not live in your household.
  • Infection Prevention and other team members will continue to audit Universal Pandemic Precautions (UPP) use — now twice each week on every inpatient unit in Ohio and Florida. As part of this, continue to properly wear your face shield or goggles, in addition to your surgical or ear-loop mask, when entering and inside clinical areas at work.

Thank you for supporting safe environments by continuing the measures listed above. We are in this together.

Wearing masks and other safety precautions — why they work

Wearing masks and other safety precautions — why they work

Masking, social distancing and frequent hand washing are three simple, powerful ways we can help stop the spread of COVID-19. As rates of infections rise, our choices over the next few months are critical to containing the virus.

“There is a lot of virus circulating in our community right now. As a healthcare professional, the care you provide on a daily basis not only serves your patients but also your community, says Thomas Fraser, MD, Department of Infectious Diseases.

“For our families and for our community, we cannot let up on what we know decreases spread of this virus — maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask, and cleaning our hands,” he adds.

Through all the ups and downs and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, one thing has become clear: wearing a mask effectively prevents the spread of the virus.

Masks provide a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies.

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Please continue to follow these guidelines to help keep you and others safe:

  • At work, use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to the setting in which you are located and wear PPE properly. Be sure to stay vigilant and wear masks when around other caregivers in break rooms or while away from patient care areas.
  • Outside of work, be sure to wear your cloth mask properly. Cloth masks are most effective when made from tightly woven and breathable fabrics, such as cotton, in two or three layers. How to wear (and not wear) a cloth mask.
  • Wear a mask around others who do not live in your household.
  • Practice physical and social distancing.
  • Avoid gatherings, particularly those spent indoors.
  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

As caregivers, your ongoing dedication to our patients and community is extraordinary. Thank you for all you do to take care of others; likewise, please take care of yourselves and your families by continuing to follow these safety guidelines. By working together, we can keep our patients, visitors, communities and fellow caregivers safe.