How many people are permitted to attend an in-person meeting at work?
When it comes to meeting size limits, in-person attendees should be six feet apart, allowing for 25-30 square feet of space per person; or up to no more than 50% of the room's previous capacity, whichever is least. All attendees must wear masks. Meeting breaks should be taken outside of the meeting room. Any snacks or meals should be consumed outside of the meeting room. Virtual conferencing via WebEx should be made available for attendees who are working remotely.
How is Denver Health preventing the spread of COVID-19?
To reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, visitors at our medical facilities are limited. Visit DenverHealth.org/Visitors to see the latest updated visitor restrictions policy. Denver Health is also screening staff members, patients and visitors upon entry. We're keeping six feet of distance between people in waiting areas. We also require universal masking of staff, patients and visitors. Per city mandate, everyone ages 3 and up is required to wear a face covering in public spaces.
How often do I need to self-monitor for COVID-19?
All Denver Health staff members are required to self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms on an ongoing basis, and to report any new symptoms via the staff health survey before the start of their shift. This includes full-time and part-time employees, contractors, students, residents, and volunteers. You do not need to take the survey unless you have new symptoms. The symptom monitoring and reporting process ensures our compliance with public health orders and helps to keep our staff, patients and visitors safe.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of the novel coronavirus can include cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. For a list of symptoms that are updated on an ongoing basis, check the Centers for Disease Control website.
Who is at risk for COVID-19?
The virus is circulating widely across Colorado, and virtually anyone can be exposed. This is why social distancing and adherence to public health orders are essential. Older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions are reported to have more severe cases.
Who can take care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
All Denver Health staff members are capable of taking care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. However, we recommend that the minimum necessary number of staff members care for these patients. Residents and fellows are allowed to care for COVID-19 patients. Some students are allowed to take care for these patients; please ask the student if their school permits their involvement with patients who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. If there is any doubt, you can also contact Abraham Nussbaum or Jama Goers in the Office of Education.
What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should I use while at work?
All staff members who work within any Denver Health building, both clinical and non-clinical, are required to wear a mask or a face covering. Staff members who work in the clinical setting must wear a surgical mask (also called a medical mask) or an N95 mask, depending on their level of interaction with patients. Staff members who work in non-clinical settings are required to wear a face covering (also called a non-medical mask). Face shields or other eye protection is strongly recommended for the care of any patient and required for the care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. Refer to the PPE page.
Do I have to have a face covering on when I come in for my shift?
Yes. All staff members, both clinical and non-clinical, must bring and have on their own face covering or a mask when entering any Denver Health building. If you do not have a face covering, you may present your badge at any main entrance screening location to receive one. Once clinical staff members arrive to their work unit, they should wear the appropriate, medical-grade PPE. Remember to wear a face covering or a mask at all times when in public spaces in any of our buildings, including when in hallways, during patient transport, or working in a desk area.
When do I have to have my face covering on while working?
Staff members in clinical settings should wear the appropriate medical-grade PPE for their location. When in any shared space within the hospital, clinics or office buildings, all staff members are required to wear a face covering (or a mask) during all of the following activities:
- Any interaction with another person that requires a face-to-face conversation within six feet of each other.
- Working or walking in any common areas that include but are not limited to: bathrooms, copy rooms, hallways, elevators, breakrooms, stairs, waiting areas etc.
- In any enclosed room or area when there is more than one person present.
- When you are in a cubicle or public workspace.
When can I take my face covering off?
You may take off your face covering only in the following circumstances:
- When eating or drinking.
- When you are working by yourself in an enclosed room, such as an office, with the door closed.
If someone approaches you within six feet while you are eating, drinking or working by yourself in an enclosed office room, you must put your face covering back on.
What is the proper way to put on and take off a mask or face covering?
Wash your hands before and after touching your mask or face covering.
What should I do if my N95 mask size/brand is unavailable?
1. visit COSH during business hours to be fit tested to another mask;
2. request a CAPR through Central Supply;
3. request a PAPR from the HITeam;
4. consider a surgical mask plus faceshield if you do not perform AGP;
5. talk with your supervisor about alternate patient assignments; and
6. ask Central Supply if a reprocessed mask is available for you.
What should I do if my N95 mask size/brand is in short supply?
Go to the Center for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) to get fit tested for another mask so that you have an alternative if your normal size and brand is out of stock. Demand for small 3M 1860 N95 masks is high, and they continue to be in short supply. We encourage staff who wear the 1860 to try the 3M 8000 mask because it is available in plentiful supply. There is also a small 1860 alternative called the Tronex. Both of these alternatives are available from COSH. Fit testing is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. Fit testing is also available where you work if scheduled in advance by contacting Vicki Haseman.
How are we managing and preserving short supply of PPE?
Denver Health maintains two separate personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks: one is designated for everyday use while the other is a disaster surplus supply. We currently have an adequate supply of PPE but need to continue to be judicious to maintain our supply. We are managing PPE stock in the following ways:
To preserve supplies, we recommend:
Medical Masks and N95
Each provider should wear a single mask throughout the day (except when eating or drinking), with meticulous hand hygiene both before and after the mask is touched. If damaged, saturated, or contaminated, please contact your supervisor to replace.
These recommendations do NOT apply to sterile environments (e.g. Operating Room).
Eye shields may be reused between patients. Please wipe down before and after each use with a hospital-approved disinfectant (e.g. purple top wipes or bleach wipes).
We no longer require contact precautions for MRSA or VRE in both outpatient and inpatient settings. As always, standard precautions should be followed. Contact precautions for other multidrug resistant organisms, including ESBL, CRE, and C. difficile, will continue unchanged. Gloves remain as single patient, single use items. The hospital has invested in launderable contact isolation gowns. These are gradually replacing the single use disposable gowns throughout the hospital.
We also are also pursuing additional efforts to preserve these items, including the liberal use of telehealth, limits on elective surgical procedures with potential for admission, and additional coronavirus testing.
PPE should be used appropriately.
N95 masks are required for staff members in contact with patients with suspected measles, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and COVID-19. N95s are not appropriate to use when in contact with patients with influenza, pertussis, or bacterial meningitis. Gown/gloves are appropriate for staff to use with patients who are in contact or contact plus precautions. Gown/gloves should not be worn in the hallways or in rooms of patients who do not have a history of multidrug resistant organisms. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control isolation table for full details of appropriate and inappropriate PPE indications.
Large provider teams should not perform teaching rounds in isolation rooms – including contact, contact plus, airborne, and droplet precautions.
Teaching rounds should occur outside of the patient’s room, and only the minimum necessary number of providers should enter the patient’s room for the physical examination.
Why are face coverings recommended for people to wear in the community?
Per public health guidelines, people in the community are asked to wear cloth face coverings when leaving the home. This is because of evidence that people can spread the virus when they're not showing symptoms. Wearing a mask may reduce the likelihood of this occurring. You can see details and an FAQ on the campaign here.
What type of disinfectant should be used to clean the room of a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
Purple top and bleach wipes are both effective against COVID-19.
How can I prevent COVID-19?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20-seconds after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
What precautions should I take when I travel?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends avoiding non-essential travel to many international countries. Denver Health has suspended all work-related travel for employees. Please use common sense when traveling for personal reasons.
Do patients with COVID-19 need to be admitted to the hospital?
Many patients with COVID-19 are not ill enough to warrant admission. In these cases, patients should be discharged to their homes with public health follow-up. Patients who are ill enough to need hospital admission may be admitted to either the hospital floor or to the intensive care unit.
Into which unit are admitted patients with COVID-19 being treated?
Patients who require admission are being treated in AIIR rooms on designated COVID-19 units. Patients who are medically stable and have no other reason for admission are being discharged home with quarantine and instructed to follow-up with Denver Public Health.
What should I do if I take care of someone with COVID-19?
Many employees will come into contact with someone with COVID-19 or care for a patient with COVID-19. All employees should wear a mask or a face covering while working, self-monitor for the development of symptoms, wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing, and stay home from work if they become sick. Employees who develop symptoms should take the Denver Health COVID-19 Staff Health Survey here. A provider will contact you if COVID-19 testing is warranted. Read frequently asked questions and answers about staff testing here. You do not need to call the OUCH line to report exposure to someone with COVID-19.
What should I do if I start having symptoms of COVID-19?
Do not come to work if you are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms. Contact your supervisor and stay home. If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, you should fill out the Denver Health COVID-19 Staff Health Survey, notify your supervisor, stay at home in a separate area from family members and pets, drink plenty of fluids and call your primary care provider if your symptoms worsen. A provider will contact you if your risk is high enough to warrant COVID-19 testing. Call the Nurse Line at 303-739-1211 for further advice. A separate FAQ explains further details about the staff testing process.
If I test positive for COVID-19, when can I come back to work?
Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Denver Health staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 may not return to work until 10 days since the onset of symptoms combined with at least 24 hours without fever, along with improved symptoms. COSH will provide guidance to staff on returning to work.
If an employee tests positive, should co-workers be informed?
The identity of any employee who tests positive should be kept confidential. Department co-workers, however, should be informed that they might have been exposed and are advised to monitor for symptoms.
Where can I find more information about testing for staff?
Click here for the Staff Screening and Testing FAQ.
How do we screen patients for COVID-19?
We screen patients at all points of entry to our medical system by asking if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and checking their temperature.
How can I test a patient for COVID-19?
In-house testing capabilities are available at Denver Health.
We test all patients for COVID-19 who are being admitted to the hospital. At this time, we've returned to testing all incoming patients with rapid tests, which require a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab. The NP swab should be collected in viral transport media. The specimen should be promptly hand-delivered to the laboratory. Rapid test results are available in less than two hours.
For outpatient testing, use the standard COVID-19 test. Collect the specimen with an oropharyngeal (OP) swab. Standard test results are available in less than 24 hours. Tests can be run seven days per week.
Who should be tested for COVID-19?
See this testing & isolation algorithm for a detailed visual representation on who should be tested and when to remove specialized respiratory isolation precautions.
Testing is available at several family health center locations. Patients must have an order from their provider and an appointment to get tested. Our expanded testing criteria chart can determine if a patient's risk is high enough to warrant testing.
- Health Care Workers
Health care workers and first responders with mild to moderate symptoms, including those who provide direct patient care and perform essential services, should be tested, as a negative result could allow them to return to work sooner. Those who are concerned about exposure or are experiencing symptoms should take the COVID-19 staff health survey. A provider will contact the staff member if testing is warranted.
How should I handle a negative COVID-19 test in a patient with high clinical suspicion of infection?
If COVID-19 test is negative yet high clinical suspicion remains, contact the COVID attending to discuss repeat testing. Continue Specialized Respiratory Isolation until the decision is made.
Can patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 be transported through the hospital?
It is preferable for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to remain in one location for their medical work-up. If a person under investigation for COVID-19 needs a study that could reasonably be performed with portable equipment (X ray, ultrasound), then portable equipment should be used. However, medically necessary tests should not be withheld from patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. All patients should wear a face covering when in the hallways.
How should patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 be transported through the hospital if a test or procedure is necessary?
The patient should wear a facial covering. Transport personnel should wear a mask at all times per DH policy. The transport personnel should don gown, gloves and eye protection when entering the room to get the patient ready for transportation. Transport personnel should remove PPE other than mask when leaving the room (gown and gloves are removed while in the room; eye protection is removed after leaving the room). Wipe down eye protection with a disinfectant wipe after removing. PPE other than mask is not to be worn by transport personnel in the hallway during transportation unless direct contact with respiratory secretions is likely (e.g. airway maintenance, respiratory therapy, etc.). Transportation staff may bring with them but not wear gown, gloves and eye protection to be donned in the event that contact with the patient is likely.
How can I discharge a homeless patient whose COVID-19 test is still pending?
- Use .covidavsinstructions for home quarantine instructions.
- Contact activated respite.
When can an inpatient with COVID-19 be removed from Special Respiratory Isolation (SRI) precautions?
SRI precautions may be removed 10 days after the first positive test as long as fever has resolved and other COVID-19 related symptoms are improving. Twenty days is required for patients with critical illness or severe immunosuppression. Test of cure is not indicated to remove SRI for patients.
Where can I get the latest information about COVID-19 and Denver Health?
Stay informed with the latest information for Denver Health staff members on the coronavirus subsite on the Pulse. Staff members can also find information outside of the Denver Health network on the Help Center.
If I tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered, can I help others who are sick?
Employees or patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and fully recovered may be eligible to donate plasma which can be used as a potential treatment option for patients who are sick with COVID-19. Those who are interested should call 720-777-3557 or send an email to ConvalescentPlasma@childrenscolorado.org. More information can be found at: www.childrenscolorado.org/community/donate-volunteer/give-blood.
How do I request remote access to the Denver Health network?
Requests to access Denver Health’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) must be entered through the IT Services Portal. The portal is located on the Pulse and is also accessible via the Help icon on the desktop. In the portal, click on Request. On the Catalog of Services web page, select Security. Fill in the New Service Request form. Make sure to select the VPN – Remote Access checkbox. More information about the process is available in the policy.
How should I handle food deliveries?
Receive food deliveries outside of the hospital so that deliveries do not need to go through screening points.
How is Denver Health helping staff cope with emotional, financial and
physical challenges caused by the pandemic?
Denver Health personnel can access resources through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Work/Life Support by calling 1-866-799-2728 or visiting HealthAdvocate.com/DenverHealth.
Denver Health's Employee Relief Fund offers financial assistance to employees who are experiencing personal economic hardship caused by a catastrophic event or a natural disaster, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provides financial assistance with basic living and personal expenses. See details here.
To apply, download the Employee Relief Fund application on the Pulse.
Awards are based on completion of the application, merit of the request and the availability of funds.
Staff members in distress can connect 24/7 with trained, peer support through our Resilience in Stressful Events (RISE) program. Call 303-436-RISE (7473) or visit the RISE subsite on the Pulse.
For additional resources, visit the Human Resources section of the Help Center.
How can community members help?
At this time, Denver Health is most in need of monetary donations. People who want to help are asked to contribute to the Fight COVID-19 Urgent Response Fund at DenverHealthFoundation.org/ways-to-give/donate-now. Manufacturers, companies and individuals who want to donate supplies should send an email to Linda.Ford@dhha.org.