STANFORD, Calif. (KRON) – In a sign that the Bay Area continues to stay ahead and flatten the curve, elective surgeries and other diagnostic procedures put on hold because of the virus are resuming at Stanford Health Care.
As it ramped up capacity to deal with the coronavirus, elective surgeries were put on hold out of an abundance of caution.
Beginning Monday, those procedures have resumed at Stanford, even as the testing and treating of both patients and staff for COVID-19 continues.
As priorities shifted to dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, Stanford Health Care delayed some 3,000 elective surgeries.
Even as it guards against further spread of COVID-19, Stanford says many of those surgeries are back on the schedule, says CEO David Entwistle.
“These are anywhere from heart procedures to neuro-surgical procedures to orthopedic procedures, so there is a broad range of things. Before when we had a longer period of time they could be delayed but now in some cases they are becoming urgent,” Entwistle said.
New safety protocols are in place, including the use of masks and personal protection equipment and the capacity for widespread testing of both patients and employees.
“Because of that capacity, we have been able to tests all of our employees, so 11,000 of 14,000 employees have been tested so far and they are a symptomatic, so they don’t have the disease, in fact we’ve only seen 0.3 percent or 97.7 percent of our employees do not have the virus,” Entwistle said.
Safety protocols also include daily screening of employees.
Patients will be checked for symptoms when they arrive at the hospitals or clinics.
In addition, there are extra precautions in place for treating those who have contracted COVID-19.
“We still do have a few patients in house that actually do have COVID-19 that we are treating both in the icu and on regular floors but these patients are being sequestered for the safety of the rest of the patients that are coming in,” Entwistle said.
Stanford Medicine says ramping up for a COVID-19 surge that has not happened finds hospital capacity around 50-percent.
Priorities can just as easily be reversed should the need arise but for now that extra capacity will be pressed into service the focus is shifting back to include meeting the demand for elective surgeries.
“Appropriate use of personal protection equipment and appropriate use of testing has allowed us to make sure we have got a safe environment and allowed us to open back up and to bring those patients that were delayed back in for those needed surge,” Entwistle said.
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