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We Together: A Communication of Stormont Vail Health (June 13, 2023)

Dear Community Partners,

Here are today’s updates:

  • COVID-19 Procedures to Change
  • Walk with a Doc: Dr. Nason Lui

COVID-19 Procedures to Change

The last date that Stormont Vail Health’s Topeka hospital had no COVID-19 positive patients was March 23, 2020, the day before our first inpatient positive with COVID-19 was admitted. Since then, there have been several times when we were close to zero patients with COVID-19, including in April 2022 when there was a single COVID-19 positive patient.

Today we have two inpatients with COVID-19 in the Topeka hospital and none at Stormont Vail’s hospital at the Flint Hills Campus in Junction City.

While COVID-19 is still in the community and impacting the health of some individuals, the spikes and swells of the pandemic that we have experienced since 2020 are in the distant past. As the pandemic has waned across the country, the regulations and responses have changed. A national Public Health Emergency ended May 11, 2023. That resulted in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services lifting a number of COVID-19 mandates for healthcare systems and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating their guidelines.

What we do know now is:

  • Healthcare systems are still required to report COVID-19 vaccination and positivity rate.
  • Screening, i.e. asking COVID-19 questions at the door, is no longer required.
  • COVID-19 vaccine has evolved to one bivalent vaccine, which is considered “fully vaccinated.”

Operating Committee approved changes for our facilities, effective June 19.

These changes include no longer active screening for COVID-19 at the doors and registration desks of our hospitals and clinics. Posters with information about our infection prevention guidelines will remain.

Policy changes include:

  • Respiratory Virus Transmission Policy combines COVID-19, RSV and Influenza into one policy. It includes threshold levels, infection prevention strategies and attendance considerations when the threshold reaches certain levels.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination requirement has a revises definition to (1) bivalent vaccine as “fully” vaccinated. We will continue our COVID-19 vaccination requirement at this time. Those team members and others already vaccinated under the previous requirement (two dose series and one booster) are grandfathered in, so this will primarily affect new hires. We continue our existing exemption process.
  • Communicable Disease Policy will now include COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 exposure reporting oversight.

We will continue to monitor transmission levels in our region and if there is a shift to higher COVID-19 numbers, then we will determine if there is a need to roll back to our infection prevention strategies. In that case, we will communicate those changes and we will be ready to respond.

Walk with a Doc: Dr. Nason Lui

Join Dr. Nason Lui for our monthly Walk with a Doc event this Saturday, June 17 at 9:00 a.m. We will meet on the east side of Lee Arena at Washburn University. The event is free and all are welcome to come walk to better health! Dr. Lui will give a brief informative talk about the importance of firearm safety, after which you can ask questions. We hope to see you there!

We together,
Dr. Robert Kenagy

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