01 Jul Coronavirus Update July 1
July 1, 2020
12&12 Friends & Family,
The last few weeks have seen dramatic climbs in the number of individuals in the Tulsa area infected with COVID-19. Hospitalizations have similarly increased. It is too early to tell if the highs are leveling off or if they will continue to increase. I expect us to deal with a high burden of virus through the end of the year, with no promises that January will be any better. I cannot stress enough how it is the obligation of every employee to maintain an incredible level of vigilance to protect our coworkers and patients with infection.
I have said since February that it is not a matter of if, but when, we have a positive test at 12&12. I still believe by the end of the year we will have dozens of cases… there is just no way not too. Every facility, business and household faces similar risk. In light of this, 12&12 cannot waiver from their mission of treating those who need help the most at a time when the community needs us the most. 12&12 will operate at full capacity with the strictest of measures in place.
Two weeks ago, we had our first positive case. This case was discovered because of 12&12’s policy and because of a supervisor’s strict adherence to policy. There were approximately 20 exposures, and now 14 days later, all tests have been negative. This is because of all of the measures our great employees are performing on a daily basis, such a physical distancing and handwashing. We learned a lot from that case.
Last week, we had our second positive case. This case was discovered because the employee felt as though something might be wrong. Because of this, he did not come to work and got a test. His level of concern for 12&12 saved the day. We performed contact tracing and he had not exposed anyone because of his strict adherence to physical distancing. This is exactly how it should be and had overall little impact on the facility.
In order to have similarly good outcomes in the future, we are taking the following steps:
Operations, led by Tricia Mason, is looking at separating the facility into segments. For example, detox is a segment and admissions is another one. We will be developing protocols, barriers and procedures to block mixing of segments. Clients will only go the courtyard and cafeteria with their segment. Using this method, if a segment had a positive case, it would only expose that segment and leave the rest of the facility untouched.
Administration will begin to look at treatment pods. This is the same group of individuals interacting with the same group of clinicians. This way, if one person is positive, we automatically know who was exposed and this will have very little impact on the rest of the facility.
Our counselors are the backbone of treatment. We believe that having them offsite is detrimental to treatment, leads to increase negative behaviors, and increased unscheduled discharges. Because of their importance to the treatment team, we cannot afford to have multiple counselors out for quarantine at once. Therefore, effectively immediately, counselors must maintain strict physical distance from each other at all times. This means that no two counselors must maintain strict physical distance from each other at all times. This means that no two counselors can be in the same room at the same time. I understand how incredibly disruptive this is, but it highlights the difficult decisions we have to make in these strange times.
I ask everyone to please go above and beyond on all precautions:
- Monitor your symptoms and do not come to work if you have them
- Maintain strict physical distancing when not at 12&12. Avoid large gatherings.
- Do Not come inside the building if you have been ordered to quarantine or you have a test pending (violation of this will result in disciplinary action)
- All employees must wear masks inside the building. Expect to do this until at least January. Failure to do will result in disciplinary action.
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds frequently.
- Do not unnecessarily touch things.
We have had many questions regarding notification of positive tests. We must balance the privacy of the individual with the safety of the facility. We believe we can do this through discreet contact tracing. If we feel as though this is not working, then we will do whatever is necessary to keep everyone safe. I hope you will all understand that protecting health information is not “keeping secrets.”
I encourage all employees to continue to help ease anxiety where you find it. I am available at all times to answer questions and alleviate concerns. Rumors and speculation are felt by our clients and could easily result in people leaving care they so desperately need.
Please be safe and keep up your guard!
Jason Beaman D.O., M.S., M.P.H., FAPA