What You Need to Know

As of 6:30 a.m. today, Denver Health had 48 inpatient COVID-19 cases (-8 from yesterday).

For more information, please visit the Denver Public Health COVID-19 Data Summary (Please use Edge or Chrome). The website is updated daily and contains data on cases, hospitalization, deaths, testing and symptom monitoring.

REMINDER: Level Red: Severe Risk – New Restrictions Are In Effect

Denver is among 20 counties that have moved to a more restrictive level, Level Red: Severe Risk, on the State’s updated COVID-19 dial as a result of a persistent and alarming surge in coronavirus cases. New public health rules are in effect. The State will re-evaluate Denver’s metrics and status on the dial by Dec. 18. For the City of Denver’s detailed list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s), please click here.

Today, the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center deployed a wireless emergency alert targeted to all counties that are red on the COVID-19 dial. The message said, “This region is at severe risk from deadly COVID. Use caution covid19.colorado.gov

What You Need to Share

REMINDER: Discontinuation of UV Light Process for COVID+ Patient Rooms and Staff Break/Common Areas

Incident Command, Infection Prevention, and Environmental Services have decided to discontinue the process of performing UV light treatment for COVID+ patient rooms (after a patient is discharged) and staff break/common areas (in response to staff illness). CDC guidance on environmental infection control in healthcare facilities states that routine cleaning and disinfection procedures are appropriate for COVID-19, including patient-care areas where aerosol-generating procedures have been performed. The disinfectant utilized by Environmental Services is hospital-grade and effective against COVID-19. Use of the UV light in Contact Plus rooms for patients who have had C. difficile will continue per CDC recommendations.

REMINDER: Staff COVID-19 Exposure Guidance
With masks and face shields, high-risk exposures should be rare

Patients sometimes test negative for COVID-19 at admission and then test positive later. In these situations, staff members may be concerned they have had a high-risk exposure. Definition of a high risk exposure:

  • Performing an aerosol-generating procedure on a COVID-19 positive patient without wearing both a face mask and eye protection.
  • Caring for a patient with COVID-19 without wearing a face mask.

Infection Prevention works with managers to assess exposures. With face masks and eye protection mandatory for all patient encounters, high-risk exposures to patients will be rare. Of note, face masks plus a face shield are a component of CDC recommended alternatives for personal protective equipment when caring for COVID-19 positive patients. You will not be routinely notified if a patient you cared for tests positive after an initial negative test. However, these cases are carefully reviewed by infection prevention who will reach out to you if a possible high-risk exposure is identified. If you are concerned that you have experienced a high-risk exposure and have not already been contacted by Infection Prevention or your manager:

  • Talk to your manager or call Infection Prevention at 2-BUGS (x22847).
  • Self-monitor for symptoms as usual.
  • Continue to work if you are asymptomatic.
  • Take the employee survey if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 OR are directed to do so by infection prevention or your manager.

REMINDER: Eye Protection Required for Staff
Face shields are the preferred method of eye protection. Goggles do not protect the wearer from all splashes or droplets. Goggles offer less protection, do not protect your mask, and will not be supplied for this purpose. If wearing a face shield disrupts your ability to properly function in your daily job, talk to your manager and call Infection Prevention at 2-BUGS (x22847). In such instance, Staff may be approved to wear googles from home. Eye glasses are not considered a substitute for goggles or a face shield. For a full FAQ on this requirement, visit the Denver Health COVID Help Center.

REMINDER: Use Single Gloves, Not Double Gloves

When interacting with patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, clinical staff should not wear two sets of gloves. Use of a single pair of gloves follows correct protocol and double-gloving does not provide any greater protection and has been shown to decrease hand hygiene. The 5 moments of hand hygiene is required in all patient interactions. Gloves are to be maintained in all patient care rooms. For any questions please call Infection Prevention at 2-BUGS (x22847) or email HITeam@dhha.org.

REMINDER: Reusable Half/Full Respirator Masks with External Filters Are Not Approved for Use at Denver Health

Recently staff have been asking about whether it is allowable to wear reusable half or full-face respirator masks with external filters such as those pictured. Infection Prevention would like to remind staff that these are not approved for use at Denver Health.

  • Most masks of this type have an unfiltered exhalation valve which presents a risk to the patient and to other staff who come in contact with the wearer.
  • Fit testing is required for safe use, and COSH does not provide fit testing for these masks.
  • Denver Health does not maintain a supply of these masks; thus if filters require replacement we are not able to provide them. There is also no indicator for when filters should be changed; thus staff safety cannot be assured.
  • The filters for these masks are open to the environment and thus are likely to become contaminated on their surface. They cannot be cleaned or disinfected (they should not be wiped with a disinfectant wipe) and thus their safety is questionable.
  • There have been repeated reports that they are visually frightening to patients.
  • We have many types of N95 masks that are approved to wear at the hospital during patient care. Staff should try to be fit tested to one of these masks instead.
  • We have a supply of PAPRs available in Central Supply, and soon will be able to offer a newly-purchased supply of the CleanSpace Halo respirator. Either of these can be offered to staff who are unable to fit test to a disposable-type N95 mask.

Helpful Links:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Coronavirus Information

Denver Department of Public Health and Environment Coronavirus Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Information

Denver Public Health Website

Denver Health Visitor Policy

Please email COVID-19@dhha.org with any questions.

Denver Health COVID-19 Resources:

COVID-19 Staff Resources section on our website

Coronavirus Share Point site

Denver Health COVID-19 Help Center which allows you to search for documents and resources

Denver Health COVID-19 Help Center

RISE Virtual Group Support Registration


Helpful Links:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Coronavirus Information

Denver Department of Public Health and Environment Coronavirus Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Information

Denver Public Health Website

Denver Health Visitor Policy

Please email COVID-19@dhha.org with any questions.

Denver Health COVID-19 Resources:

COVID-19 Staff Resources section on our website

Coronavirus Share Point site

Denver Health COVID-19 Help Center which allows you to search for documents and resources

Denver Health COVID-19 Help Center

RISE Virtual Group Support Registration

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