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A message from Denver Health’s CEO on our response to COVID-19

March 23, 2020

This is a unique time for Denver Health, as we rise to the challenge of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

As the leader of this organization, I want to reassure you that we are well-prepared, experienced and fully capable of dealing with major incidents, including those involving infectious diseases.

Following our established protocols, we have activated our incident command center to bring together the people and resources required to respond to this outbreak. We will continue to take the necessary actions to protect our staff, patients and community throughout all of our locations. Additionally, we are fully coordinating with our colleagues at Denver Public Health, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

Denver Health has enacted new policies to help prevent the spread of infection by limiting access points to the main hospital as well as our family health centers. There will be wellness screenings in place for all patients, visitors and staff. And visitor limits have been set across our network. You can learn more about these changes at DenverHealth.org/coronavirus.

As a mission-driven organization that has served the people of Denver for 160 years, I know that our most important strength is the quality of our people. The commitment and resilience of our staff is what makes the difference, especially when dealing with a rapidly-changing situation.

Denver Health is an integrated health care system, and we have the expertise to support our patients and community. Denver Health Paramedics provides first response; our Denver Health NurseLine and telemedicine capabilities care for patients over the phone while reducing the risk of transmission; the Denver Public Health Division is working with partners to test patients and provide accurate, public information; our infectious diseases physicians are working on all fronts to better understand COVID-19; and our role as a regional special pathogens treatment center positions Denver Health as one of the ten leading hospitals in the country designated to deal with highly infectious diseases.

Our Chief Nursing Officer, Kathy Boyle, and our Chief Medical Officer, Connie Price, have produced a short video summarizing what you need to know. Take a moment to view the video.  For those in your communities who have questions, a patient information sheet was made available to our patients, in different languages, and it summarizes what everyone needs to know about COVID-19. Please let us know if you would like access to this information in another language.

Prevention is the key to maintaining a healthy workforce for all of us. Remind others to practice frequent hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, stay home when they’re sick and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Currently, there is no vaccine and no medication or treatment for COVID-19. Many people who get diagnosed will experience minor symptoms, but we should take great care to protect those who are most vulnerable including our aging population and those with compromised immune systems.

It’s important to remind your networks that people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. And seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens (e.g., difficulty breathing). People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.

I know there are many uncertainties about COVID-19, but at this time, the most important response to the situation is action. We are at the top of our game and will maintain professionalism and purpose as we do our most important work.

We appreciate your ongoing partnership, and we are so grateful that you put the trust in us to continue to serve this community. Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

 

Robin D. Wittenstein, Ed.D., FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Denver Health