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Brooks-TLC offers update on coronavirus preparations

Brooks-TLC Hospital System announced this weekend that the significant increase of coronavirus cases reported in Erie County over the last few days could have an effect locally.

“No one knows for sure what the impact will be on Western New York in the days and weeks ahead; however, Brooks-TLC is doing everything possible to prepare and protect patients and personnel,” the hospital said in a statement. “We continue to restrict access to the hospital and screen everyone presenting for symptoms attributed to COVID-19. On behalf of staff, leadership, and Board of Directors, we thank you for your support as we work to protect the health and safety of our community during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

Brooks-TLC also offered these updates:

≤ Brooks-TLC is not a testing center for COVID-19. Due to the shortage of testing supplies, testing centers have been designated and testing at the hospital is limited to patients under our care.

≤ Everyone, including employees, outpatients, medical staff, and vendors entering the hospital are screened for respiratory symptoms and fever at the outpatient entrance at the front of the hospital between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Emergency Department entrance, immediately adjacent to the Outpatient entrance, is being used as a point of entry for everyone entering the hospital building between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Patients requiring emergency care are still asked to enter at the Emergency Department. All patients, with the exception of those requiring parent or guardian consent, need to arrive at the appropriate entrance and a phone number of a contact person should be provided so patients can be picked up upon completion of treatment/services.

≤ Hospital visitors are strictly prohibited, including those dropping off patients. Exceptions may be made for critically ill patients, end of life and comfort care patients, and father or labor coach in obstetrics. Children under 17 years of age will not be allowed to visit unless there are special circumstances.

≤ For the safety of our visitors, two main elevators have been designated for the sole use of employees (main lobby/across from cafeteria entry) and visitors (across from the public restrooms). The radiology wing elevator and back stairwell (near the outpatient entrance) is restricted for impatient use.

≤ For your convenience, bill payments can be made online. If you are not able to pay your bill online, we encourage you to use the US Postal Service.

≤ Brooks-TLC has established a COVID-19 incident command team. This team meets several times daily to implement plans for the potential impact of COVID-19 on the hospital, its patients and staff. The team continually updates all aspects of hospital operations and coordinates information obtained from the local and state health departments. Most importantly, the team has focused on developing a surge plan required by the New York State Department of Health. This plan addresses the hospital’s ability to increase its capacity to add patient care areas in the event of a surge of inpatients.

≤ Recently, the hospital has been able to meet its need for personal protective equipment. “However, as we look ahead and reflect on the shortages of supplies across the country, preparations are in place to order amounts that will accommodate any potential surge over the next few weeks,” the statement noted. “Like all other hospitals and health care institutions, we remain diligent in asking for vendors and others to provide the needed supplies.

“Thank you to all who have donated and offered to help!”

≤ Like most hospitals and many businesses, many non-clinical Brooks-TLC personnel have been working remotely to maximize safety. Working remotely may occasionally cause a delay in communication. Remote staff are checking email and voice mail message routinely and will follow up with any communications as soon as possible.

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