COVID-19 Update June 2, 2020

What Everyone Needs to Know for June 2, 2020

All meetings must have a WebEx option. If meeting in person is necessary:

  • Maintain six feet between all people.
  • Everyone attending should wear a face covering (cloth at the minimum).
  • Continue to avoid groups of more than 10 people.

Exceptions may be considered by presenting the need and logistics of the plan to Infection Prevention and Incident Command.

Updated Guidance on N95 Usage:  While both earloop masks and N95 respirators are deemed appropriate for the care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19, Children’s staff who feel more comfortable utilizing an N95 (instead of an earloop mask) in caring for these specific patients are supported in this choice. More information can be found on Children’s internal COVID-19 update page.

An Urgent Message from Children’s Executive Leadership

Dear Children’s family,

Our hearts are heavy today. Our society—and our community—continues to battle against systemic racism and discrimination; at the same time, we’re on the frontlines, fighting a new pandemic. We need to recognize that many members of our team are hurting right now—some more acutely and directly than others. We are surrounded by colleagues of color who are cut deep by recent tragedies and current tensions; they are grieving and they are weary. Let’s rally around these friends and coworkers, and offer them open ears and caring support.

This message is meant to detail how Children’s is responding—today, and more broadly—and help equip you with information.

Most immediately, we need to reinforce that safety is our top priority and that we are taking proactive steps to keep our staff, patients and families safe. With safety in mind, and out of an abundance of caution, we are closing our Omaha metro Children’s Physicians offices and all Omaha and Lincoln outpatient locations by 4 p.m. today. Our Urgent Care at West Village Pointe also will be closed this evening; if a patient family has an urgent health need or emergency, they should be immediately referred to Children’s Emergency Department.

To ensure the safety of our team, patients and families, there will be expanded and enhanced security measures in place on Children’s main campus this evening and overnight.

  • Security officers will be stationed at our P3, employee and SPC parking garage entrances, as well as at all masking stations.
  • The main hospital and Emergency Department entrances will have extra Security presence.
  • A mobile Security unit will be patrolling the entire campus, including the Carolyn Scott Rainbow House.
  • Children’s Security is in communication with the Methodist Security team to collaborate and ensure our NICU team members are safe and secure overnight.
  • Staff members seeking overnight accommodations should call the House Supervisor at 402-955-7901.

Your safety is of utmost importance to us. If you feel unsafe at any time and need to contact Security, please call 402-955-5300. We thank everyone for their cooperation and support as we do our very best to make Children’s a safe place for staff, patients and families. We will communicate any other operational changes or closures as needed in the coming days; please check myChildren’s and email for timely updates.

At Children’s, we believe that Injustice and inequity hurt the health and well-being of children. We echo the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement: Racism is a public health issue. We cannot –and will not—stay silent in matters that negatively impact children; as caregivers and advocates for children, we speak up and stand against all acts of racism and discrimination.

It is our role to advocate and offer expertise to help make our world a safer, healthier place for ALL children. Advocacy is critical to fulfilling our mission: To improve the life of every child. Whether we’re testifying before state lawmakers or promoting access to health care alongside community partners, Children’s is active and passionate on this front.

As we work to break down deeply engrained disparities and build up all individuals, education is equally vital. Children’s Culture, Inclusion and Diversity team continues to further their important work inside our organization. They are increasing education and training among us to ensure all of us can thrive here and bring our true selves to work. Children’s takes a hard stance against discrimination, and we will not tolerate it in the workplace.

How can you confront your own racial bias? How can you talk with children about racial bias? Today, with you and with our community members on social media, we’re sharing an educational resource for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics on this timely topic.

Ultimately, Children’s is made up of 3,000+ completely unique individuals. We can put policies and statements in place as an organization, on a macro level, but sometimes it’s the changes made at the micro level—at the level of the individual heart and mind—that can have the most impact. Take the time to consider your feelings, biases and actions towards others. How can you listen more and learn more from perspectives different from your own? How can you be a force for reconciliation in your circle of influence this week? How can you promote unity and respect instead of division, at work and at home? You are not powerless. You have a voice, and you have a choice with every word and deed.

We live in a world plagued by sickness and injustice. While we may not ever remove all traces of these realities, at Children’s, we fight against them at every turn. That’s what makes our organization’s work so powerful, so hopeful. With thoughtful reflection, followed by decisive action, let’s all work together toward making this world the one our children deserve. Let’s stay safe and stay #ChildrensStrong.

Sincerely,

Children’s Executive Leadership Team

Updated Guidance on N95 Usage

While both earloop masks and N95 respirators are deemed appropriate for the care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19, Children’s staff who feel more comfortable utilizing an N95 (instead of an earloop mask) in caring for these specific patients are supported in this choice.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America guideline panel recommends that health care personnel caring for patients with suspected or known COVID-19 use either an ear loop mask or N95 respirator as part of appropriate PPE. COVID-19 is a droplet spread infection, thus making either mask safe for use.

The choice to utilize an N95 respirator for peace of mind in caring for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 does NOT indicate the need for a negative airflow room. Please continue to utilize Children’s Guidance for ED and Hospitalized Patients with a Suspected Highly Infectious Disease (HID) Pathogen algorithm as well as the PPE Aerosol-Generating Procedure Guidance document.

It is also critical to emphasize the importance of donning and doffing of appropriate PPE, including eye protection, to minimize transmission. Visit the COVID-19 Masks & PPE section on myChildren’s COVID site for videos and PDFs to guide donning and doffing practices. As always, thank you for your dedication to keeping our patients, families and team healthy and safe.

Omaha and Nearby Communities Declare State of Emergency

Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Ralston declared a state of emergency on Sunday, May 31, instituting a curfew. In Omaha, the curfew runs from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Wednesday. Lincoln and Ralston also instituted curfews Sunday night that have since expired. The curfews do not apply to people traveling to or from work. All Children’s staff are advised to have their work ID badge with them when traveling to and from work. Please be aware that there may be changes in traffic patterns and other related considerations for our faculty, staff, patients and others. Employees are also encouraged to monitor local news outlets in case the curfew orders are extended or other cities declare states of emergency. Children’s will continue to communicate new information as we receive it. Stay safe and stay #ChildrensStrong!

COVID-19 Update May 29, 2020

What Everyone Needs to Know for May 29, 2020

  • The current visitation policy, allowing only one visitor at a time per patient, remains in place until further notice. This restriction impacts all Children’s facilities, including the hospital, outpatient clinics and primary care offices. Two caregivers will continue to be designated as visitors for each hospitalized child; however, only one may visit at a time. Exceptions will be made for end-of-life care, parents of neonates less than 72 hours postpartum and other specific circumstances with pre-approval by Incident Command.
  • #ChildrensStrong t-shirts are now available in Children’s online Gift Shop! Purchase your men’s or women’s shirt and show your Children’s pride.

What Everyone Should Do for May 29, 2020

  • Please click here for a video message from Dr. Maloney.
  • Watch today’s video in Children’s Daily Reflections from the Thriving Together series.
  • Children’s has released a new episode in its Just Kids Health podcast series. In this episode, Children’s Physicians pediatricians Dr. Anthony Yaghmour and Dr. Melissa St. Germain discuss a question on the mind of every parent as communities reopen: Is it safe? The podcast is currently available on Soundcloud and Spotify and will soon be available on Apple Podcasts.

COVID-19 Update May 28, 2020

What Everyone Needs to Know for May 28, 2020

  • A new Clinical Decision Making section has been added to the Children’s internal COVID-19 update page. It is designed to help clinicians with medical decision-making around clinical management of COVID-19 and its related conditions. The first algorithm in this section is specific to evaluation of patients with potential Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Please contact Aleisha Nabower, M.D., and Jean Ballweg, M.D., with any questions about this tool.
  • Guidance for Critical Vendor Access:
    • Continue to follow usual Visitor Management/Screening procedures for your department.
    • All visitors must comply with Health Screening Assessments and current mask/social distance requirements.

This guidance relates to how non-employee visitors to the organization are to be handled during this time. Departments will continue to follow their usual compliance practices with regard to visitors, and must ensure that all visitors comply at all times with daily health screening and masking. For further guidance, employees may contact their unit supervisors.

The current visitation policy, allowing only one visitor at a time per patient, remains in place until further notice. This restriction impacts all Children’s facilities, including the hospital, outpatient clinics and primary care offices. Two caregivers will continue to be designated as visitors for each hospitalized child; however, only one may visit at a time. Exceptions will be made for end-of-life care, parents of neonates less than 72 hours.

COVID-19 Update May 27, 2020

What Everyone Needs to Know for May 27, 2020

  • Several Children’s Physicians operational changes will go into effect on Monday, June 1.
    • The three clinic locations that were temporarily closed (UNMC, Embassy Park and Gretna) will reopen to patients.
    • The following locations will conduct well-check visits all day: Bellevue, Dundee (main), Eagle Run, Spring Valley, Val Verde and West Village Pointe (main clinic).
    • The following locations will conduct sick visits all day: Dundee Flats (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) and West Village Pointe (east hallway off of main clinic).
    • The following locations will offer both well-checks and sick visits separated by the time of day each visit is structured: Council Bluffs, Creighton, Dundee Flats (Thursday), Embassy Park, Gretna, Mission Village, Plattsmouth and UNMC. Detailed time breakdowns for each location will be listed on each location’s web page.
  • Masks should be worn at all times in Children’s public spaces, including elevators, building vestibules and parking garages. Please be diligent about wearing a mask at work and out in the community. Cloth masks are available for clinical and non-clinical staff to wear until donning the appropriate wear available for these roles. Please email Incident Command if cloth masks are needed for your area. 

What Everyone Should Do for May 27, 2020

  • Click here to view a video about masking… just for kids! This video message, featuring pediatrician Dr. Melissa St. Germain, is intended to provide developmentally appropriate information to help children better understand why and how to wear masks.

COVID-19 Update May 22, 2020

What Everyone Needs to Know for May 22, 2020

  • Starting today, Friday, May 22, Children’s will start taking the temperatures of patients and accompanying parents/guardians prior to entering all of our facilities. We will be communicating this broadly to patient families, and appreciate your support as we implement this added precaution.
  • We have updated Children’s guidance for ED and Hospitalized patients with a Suspected HID pathogen, as well as our Admission Unit Placement Guidelines. These can be found on Children’s internal COVID-19 update page under Hospital Patient Care Processes.
  • With Memorial Day celebrated on May 25, please note a few points regarding how compensation will be treated:
    • The holiday is paid to all employees scheduled at least 16 hours (0.4 FTE) in Oracle, regardless if the employee works on the holiday or is given the day off.  Refer to policy HR59 for more detail on holiday compensation.
    • Hours of holiday pay will count toward fulfilling the FTE for employees who participate in the Work Connect Program the week of May 24. For example, if a 36-hour-per-week employee (0.9 FTE) works 10 hours on Monday, plus 8 hours each on Tuesday and Thursday, they will be paid for 36 hours. That consists of 8 hours of holiday pay, 26 hours of worked time, and 2 hours of WCP pay.  Applicable overtime compensation will still apply.
    • For employees who are working a reduced schedule that qualifies them to have benefit premiums paid, holiday pay hours will not count when determining the reduced schedule.

What Everyone Should Do for May 22, 2020

  • Click here for a video message from Dr. Maloney.
  • Watch today’s video in Children’s Daily Reflections from the Thriving Together series.

COVID-19 Update May 20, 2020

  • Effective Thursday, May 21, the exterior door near the first floor elevators at Indian Hills East will remain locked. Please use another entrance for entering and exiting the building.
  • Coming soon: a pilot of self-service staff masking stations at certain locations. Please follow the same hand hygiene and mask pick-up procedures currently used at the staffed masking stations.
  • Staff should wear masks and practice social distancing when arriving at and leaving work each day to keep our team, patients and families safe. Put on your masks when you leave your car, before entering the building, to help protect yourself and those around you. Cloth masks are available. Email Incident Command Logistics for more information.
  • Please read the updates below from Human Resources regarding returning to office areas, planning for summer holidays and personal travel.

Benefits Continuation
For employees who have their hours reduced by 50 percent or more from their FTE over a two-week pay period, Children’s will continue paying health and dental premiums. This practice will continue until August 1.

Emergency Sick Leave Program
This program will continue until June 30. It provides for additional paid leave to certain employees who are required to quarantine due to or awaiting a diagnosis of COVID-19. More information can be found on myChildren’s.

Return to Office Areas
To ensure a safe work environment, senior executives will develop a well-defined plan prior to employees returning to work in office areas, specifically in buildings where desks are in close proximity to one another. These discussions are targeted to begin in the middle of July, with specific plans being announced after those discussions. Employees will not return to their offices until that plan is approved. We are committed to providing at least a two-week notification to employees to allow ample time to prepare and make arrangements for returning. The health and safety of all employees is a priority, and these decisions will be made and implemented organization-wide rather than department by department.

Planning for the Summer Holidays
Memorial Day, May 25, is a holiday and designated offices will be closed. The fourth of July  is on a Saturday this year, so designated offices will be closed the Friday before to allow employees time off.  

Personal Travel
Business-related travel at Children’s remains on hold at this time. The CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential. Even at home and in your local community, practice social distancing, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Don’t travel if you are sick and don’t travel with someone who is sick. If you have to travel outside of your local community, please see the CDC’s travel guidelines here. If you do choose to travel, here are some guidelines:

  • Please follow any state and local travel restrictions currently in place. It is possible that some state and local governments may put in place travel restrictions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, or mandated quarantines upon arrival or even state border closures while you are traveling. For more information and travel guidance, check with the state or local health department where you are, along your route and at your planned destination. Just because there are no restrictions at the time you plan to leave, that does not mean there won’t be restrictions in place when you arrive.
  • At this time, you will not be required to quarantine for a period of time upon return to work, as long as you are symptom-free, i.e. no fever, cough or shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste and follow the Universal Masking standard initiated on March 31, 2020.

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