|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2020
Christina Crooks Bryan
Delaware Hospitals Work Together in State’s COVID-19 Response
Collaboration on Capacity, Testing, and Supplies Runs Statewide
(DOVER, DE – April 24, 2020) Delaware hospitals are working together and with partners in the State to ensure a coordinated, statewide response to COVID-19. In a uniquely Delaware approach, Delaware hospital representatives are in daily communication with each other and with State officials to ensure adequate capacity, testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and additional resources are available to meet Delaware’s COVID-19 needs.
“Delaware hospitals are actively working together to share information and resources to best respond to COVID-19 and keep our friends and neighbors healthy,” said Wayne Smith, President and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association. “We are fortunate to live in a state with such strong and seamless collaboration between our health care systems, Governor Carney, the Division of Public Health and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. This is a testament to the strong leadership of each institution and our shared dedication to the health and safety of all Delawareans.”
Delaware hospitals are in regular communication with each other and with the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, and the Governor’s office, on a variety of different COVID-19 related issues, including hospital capacity, personal protective equipment and other supplies, testing, and more.
Delaware’s hospitals report daily to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Division of Public Health (DPH) on hospital capacity, including bed occupancy. Plans are in place to provide care for patients as our COVID-19 surge occurs. For example, when a surge occurs in one area of the state, such as the recent COVID-19 surge experienced at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, patients can be transferred to other local hospitals that have additional capacity. If a surge occurs across multiple hospitals in our state, alternate care sites have been identified to take on existing patients and mitigate an overflow. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children for example has been identified as an alternate care site in New Castle County, accepting adult patient transfers from community hospitals of non COVID-19 patients and coordinating with ChristianaCare to support staffing. Alternate care sites for the lower part of the state have been identified and can be activated depending on where the area of greatest need exists.
Testing is also an area of collaboration between Delaware hospitals and DPH. Each health care system has set up testing sites covering each county of the state, from a Beebe Healthcare site in the south part of the state in Millville, Delaware to a Saint Francis Healthcare site up north in Wilmington, and several in between. State epidemiologists have been able to identify areas of our state that have higher incidence of COVID-19. With this information, ChristianaCare created mobile testing sites in sections of Wilmington and New Castle that are at higher COVID-19 risk. ChristianaCare is also developing innovative sites of care in underserved communities, including one at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, that provide access to virtual primary care and testing with multilingual support. In addition, after learning of higher incidence of COVID-19 in Georgetown, Milford, and Millsboro, and particularly in employees of Delaware’s poultry processing plants, Delaware hospitals teamed up with DPH to implement testing in these high-risk areas. For example, using supplies provided by DPH, Bayhealth deployed dozens of staff members to a local poultry plant this week to provide screening and testing, while ChristianaCare provided a mobile testing site in Georgetown on April 22 with comprehensive bilingual support. In addition, Beebe Healthcare, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and ChristianaCare are all involved in this statewide community and targeted testing approach aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping more Delawareans healthy.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is another area of constant communication between Delaware hospitals and state officials. Delaware hospitals report regularly on their supplies of N95 masks, protective gowns and other supplies. These needs can change from hospital to hospital, and from week to week, which is why this collaboration is so important — allowing resources to be shifted and targeted where there is a need. For example, one of our Sussex hospitals recently needed additional isolation gowns for employees caring for COVID-19 patients and ChristianaCare was able to step in and fulfill their request.
This seamless coordination stems in part from the emergency preparedness efforts that have been underway in Delaware for years as part of the Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. Through this Coalition, Delaware hospitals representatives have met regularly to ensure a structure and plan is in place should an emergency, such as a pandemic, occur.
About the Delaware Healthcare Association
The Delaware Healthcare Association (DHA) was formed in 1967 to assist Delaware hospitals in working on issues concerning health care and the hospital industry. DHA is a statewide trade and membership services organization that serves as a leader in the promotion of effective change in health services through collaboration and consensus building on health care issues at the State and Federal levels. DHA’s vision is to be the leading and respected voice for hospitals and health care delivery systems in Delaware working together to deliver compassionate, accessible, high quality, financially sustainable health care to the patients and communities they serve. DHA’s mission is to provide policy and advocacy leadership in creating an excellent environment for enabling every Delawarean to be as healthy as they