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A 2nd Wave of COVID-19?

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As preparations are being made by local and state governments to start phasing back into our normal lives, there is one thing we keep hearing and thinking... What is the possibility of a 2nd wave of COVID-19 once restrictions lift?

The truth is there is a strong possibility of a spike in cases again throughout the U.S.. So, how do we prepare for another outbreak as we return to some sense of normalcy?

Right now, you are still in your response or recovery phase and focusing on mitigating issues that are occurring within your facility. Chances are, you have already overcome your PPE shortages (among a myriad of other things) and are prioritizing testing and maintenance schedules to help you get back on track. There is no doubt that the recent pandemic is going to change how emergency preparedness and hospitals respond in the future. So what can hospitals proactively do now?

Response & Recovery Phase Ideas: Returning to Normal Operations & Preparing for a 2nd Possible Outbreak:

  • With the focus being on testing and missed maintenance, start contacting your vendors as soon as you can to determine if they are able to complete your testing. This ensures they didn’t reduce their workforce due to economic reasons and are still capable to meet your needs.
  • Work with infection control and identify areas you can keep partitioned and active in case of a 2nd wave. This allows you to maximize your resources since you’ll most definitely be playing catch up on daily tasks. The initial response to the pandemic was reactive. Focus more on strategic planning now to anticipate your next response.
  • Work directly with nursing leadership to identify specific needs in areas of patient utilization to ensure you can get any PMs due completed.  
  • Ensure you’re working with filter vendors to confirm you have enough supply in case you have an increase in your filter change-outs.
  • With the summer months approaching and the heat index rising, talk with your infection control group on possible PPE strategies. This is important since you will be decreasing the amount of outside air that is introduced into the facility to ensure your facility keeps cool.
  • Meet with your staff and determine what their needs will be if there is an increase in cases. Ensure they are getting all the tools they need to complete their job.
  • Create a short term, "2nd Wave Task Force." Analyze strategies that worked well during the initial response and utilize them for better future responses. Identify things that didn't work to not repeat the same mistakes. Look for alternative ways.

The initial response to the pandemic was reactive. Your planning now should be more strategic in nature. You already have experienced the initial downfall, now start utilizing mitigation to help minimize the effects of your secondary response. Keep in mind, your response is probably going to be different based upon your facility’s specialized needs and geographical areas. So, continue to network as much as possible during this phase, but don’t be surprised if you see variations from front line facilities of the pandemic. We can all learn from each other and go into the next situation with eyes wide open.

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