A message from Tom Jackiewicz, Keck Medicine CEO on April 15, 2020
To our valued patients,
As the COVID-19 situation continues, the ramifications of living in this extraordinary time can take their toll. I commend you as you contend with challenges none of us could have imagined.
I want to ease your mind and again reassure you that Keck Medicine of USC is doing everything we can to keep you safe and ensure you have access to the highest quality, compassionate health care.
I also want to share with you some hopeful news as we continue to take all precautions to protect your safety and that of our health care workers.
We're here for you.
Don't forget that you can still get much of your routine care handled through telemedicine. All Keck Medicine health care providers are now credentialed to practice telemedicine to ensure we can serve you as quickly and safely as possible. Your physicians are still available for you, so please contact them if you're in need.
We have expanded COVID-19 testing broadly.
We now will test all patients for COVID-19 who are admitted to our hospitals for any reason, or who undergo any outpatient surgery or procedure at a Keck Medicine facility.
All testing is being conducted in-house via one of two different testing methods:
- high-volume testing capacity of up to 400 per day with a 24-hour turnaround time, or
- rapid testing with a 1-hour turnaround time.
As Southern California's largest transfer center, we use the 1-hour test for transfer patients to avoid delays in care and ensure safe placement within our hospitals.
We are caring for our caregivers, physically and emotionally.
We currently are offering free housing to 100 of our health care workers who are on the frontline of COVID-19, and we still have capacity for more. We can rapidly double our availability of housing, as needed.
Also, we are providing emotional support for staff through services such as telephone or video conversations with counselors, drop-in videoconference support groups by licensed clinicians, and daily debrief sessions. We also offer resources for the families of health care workers as we understand that they are under added stress as well.
We are prepared for a potential surge.
Based on the latest modeling, we expect a possible peak for COVID-19 cases within the next week and we are ready. We have increased capacity across our three hospitals to make sure we can care for an influx of patients and have expanded ICU bed capacity by nearly 50% at our hospitals.
We have sufficient personal protective equipment.
We are thankful for the many donations of supplies we have received over the past weeks from more than 450 unique donors. Due in part to the generosity of our community, we have been able to increase our inventory of masks, gowns, gloves and shields by almost 50%.
We've been the recipient of creative help from colleagues throughout Keck Medicine and USC who have used their expertise to preserve and expand reserves. This includes innovations such as custom face shields outfitted with 3-D printed head straps for our workers.
Thank you for all you're doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. Your continued diligence in following social distancing, hand-washing and face-covering guidelines are the most important weapon we have to beat this virus. To learn more, visit the Coronavirus page on the Keck Medicine website.
Wishing you and your loved ones health and safety,
CEO Keck Medicine of USC