Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 Cases

% of BMC Census

BMC Total Inpatients:

 7

 2%

BMC Inpatients Requiring Intensive Care:

 1

 2.1%
BMC Inpatients Under Investigation (pending + negatives treated as positives)   26  
Cumulative COVID+ Patient Discharges:

 1,347

 
Cumulative Staff Who Have Tested Positive  333 (2 new since 8/3)  

Massachusetts

 111,033 (as of 8/4)  

Click to see the most up-to-date city, state, and national numbers: Boston | Massachusetts  | United States

UPDATED: Travel Policy for BMCHS Staff

To help minimize the transmission of COVID-19, please note the following personal travel restrictions, which have been updated and are effective as of July 30, 2020 for BMC Health System (BMCHS) staff. BMCHS strongly recommends that you avoid unnecessary travel as COVID-19 transmission remains a credible concern. The full policy can be found on the Hub.    

Personal Travel

  • If you decide to travel in any capacity, you must notify your manager of your specific travel plans.
  • If you travel outside of the lower-risk states (as of August 5, 2020 the lower-risk states are CT, VT, NH, ME, NY, NJ, HI) you must be tested in accordance with the BMC COVID-19 Employee Health Concern Response, summarized as follows:
    • Contact your manager and the Working Well COVID-19 Clinic.
    • Obtain a baseline test:
    • The baseline test can be performed prior to return to MA but must be no longer than 72 hours before arrival OR can be performed on return to MA and must be performed within 72 hours of arrival.
    • If that baseline test is negative, the employee may return to work and must have a repeat test at five days and again at 10 days. 
    • If the baseline test or any subsequent tests are positive, employees should follow the BMC COVID-19 Employee Health Concern Response. 

Time away from work will go unpaid, although ET/ESL can be used if available and in line with our time-off policy.

If you have additional questions, please email the Working Well Clinic, COVID-19 Team at [email protected].

REMINDER: Visitors Still Limited to Protect Patients and Staff

In order to protect the health of our staff, patients and visitors, BMC continues to limit visitors for inpatients, Emergency Department patients, and Ambulatory visits. In addition, people who have traveled from high risk states, as determined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will not be allowed to visit. The full visitor policy is available on the Hub and on BMC.org.

Please note the following guidelines and processes for inpatient visitors:

  • Inpatients are able to designate one visitor, who will remain the one allowed visitor for the duration of the patient’s stay.
  • In certain extenuating circumstances, the patient may request a one-time visitor change. This change is not an additional visitor – it replaces the original visitor. This change must be approved by the clinical care team.
  • Once the care team approves the visitor change, it will be communicated by the Unit Coordinator to the Admitting Office. Please do not send visitors to the Admitting Office to make any changes.
  • Patients on comfort measures (CMO) may be allowed multiple visitors. In that instance, only one visitor will be allowed at a time, for 15 minutes each.

We appreciate everyone’s support in adhering to the policy as we work to balance the needs of our patients and ensure the safety of everyone.  

REMINDER: Importance of Mask Guidelines and Physical Distancing     

A recent cluster of COVID-19 infections Western Massachusetts medical center illustrates the importance of continuing to follow physical distancing and universal mask guidelines. The outbreak has been traced to a healthcare worker who was diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning from a visit to Florida (a known hotspot).

COVID-19 was transmitted to this employee's colleagues because of lapses in wearing masks and physically distancing in common areas, especially in break and lunch rooms. To date, there have been 40 secondary infections (14 patients and 26 employees) as a result of inadequate masking and physical distancing as well as HCW’s continuing to work despite developing symptoms.

BMC has also seen a recent increase in HCW exposures and infection which we believe is due to lapses in wearing masks and physically distancing in common areas.

To help keep patients, healthcare workers and the community safe, please remember:

  • Wear a surgical mask with good fit and seal in all common areas of the hospital. The mask should cover your nose and mouth.
  • Stay vigilant about wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing even when outside of the hospital. Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult to maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others, or where other participants are unmasked, pose a risk for COVID-19 transmission. 
  • If you cannot comfortably wear a mask due to an underlying medical condition, please contact Working Well at [email protected]
  • Physically distance at least six feet from others whenever possible – this includes break and lunch rooms, work rooms and common spaces. 
  • Adhere to signs posted on break room doors that list maximum occupancy. 
  • Continue to monitor your health carefully, complete your daily symptom screen and do not present to work if you develop any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19. Even with the appropriate PPE, coming to work sick puts your colleagues and our patients at risk. 

NEW: Massachusetts Travel Restrictions Now in Effect

Please note that as of August 1, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has imposed travel restrictions. Departments and teams who are impacted by this as it relates to patient care will be receiving additional guidance and information from their managers.

Below is key information about the Massachusetts’ new travel order:

The new travel order will require all visitors and returning Massachusetts residents, including students returning to campuses for the fall semester, to fill out a Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a COVID-19 lower risk state AND take one of the following actions:

  • Quarantine for 14 days, OR
  • Produce proof of a negative test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts. If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, you must quarantine until you receive a negative test result. This quarantine applies to MA residents and visitors.

The new travel order includes several exemptions:

  • People who commute into MA from their residence outside MA, for work or school.
  • Patients traveling to receive medical treatment (including clinical research care).
  • Workers providing critical infrastructure services (i.e., health care workers) who have traveled for necessary work or business reasons. This exemption for health care workers DOES NOT APPLY TO PERSONAL TRAVEL.

You can find a full list of exemptions to the order here.

NEW: COVID-19 Vaccine Research Study

We are conducting a study of safety and antibody response to a vaccine against COVID-19 in healthy volunteers (BMC IRB #H-40266/WIRB #20201000; approved 6/12/2020 - PI Dr. Elizabeth Barnett). Participants will be assigned by chance to receive study vaccine or placebo and will have 6 study visits over the two years of the study.  Information will be collected about reactions to the vaccine and blood tests will be done during the study to learn about antibody response to the vaccine. Healthy volunteers who are between 18 and 85 years of age and are willing to take part in all study visits for the two-year study period are eligible.

Your decision to participate will not affect your employment at Boston Medical Center or Boston University. Participation in this study is completely voluntary and separate from your employment, and will have no bearing on your employment status or affect opportunities for career advancement. If you are interested in taking part, please email [email protected] or call 617-414-5194.

REMINDER: Patient Safety Measures – Mask Usage and No Smoking

  • All patients must wear a surgical or procedural mask (not an N95 mask) while traveling through the hospital. In addition, patients should be encouraged to wear a mask when in their rooms and engaged in conversation/contact with a healthcare provider (greater than 10-15 minutes contact within a distance of six feet).
  • In order for us to provide the safest hospital possible for patients and staff, it is critical to limit areas where COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients overlap. Therefore, to ensure that non-COVID patients and staff are not exposed to the virus, all patients must remain on their assigned floors until they are discharged from the hospital. This means that patients should not be allowed to leave the floor to smoke, visit the cafeteria, or for any other reason besides controlled transport for medically necessary procedures and testing.

NEW: Patient Financial Services Process Updates

Patient Financial Services is open for service at limited capacity in Shapiro 3C and Yawkey basement room BR03.

All patients requiring financial assistance for outpatient or pharmacy services should be referred through pager or email. A financial counselor can assist with application for Masshealth via phone. Patient financial counseling is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To refer a patient:

When paging for PFC assistance, please include the following information

  • MRN
  • Patient name
  • Location/unit
  • Call back number

NEW: Upcoming Fit Testing Sessions

Fit testing sessions in August will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Thursday August 6: 2-5 p.m., Menino 2B
  • Wednesday August 12: 4:30-7:30 p.m., Menino 2A
  • Friday August 14: 6-9 a.m., Menino 2B
  • Monday August 17: 6-9 a.m., Menino 2B
  • Wednesday August 19: 2-5 p.m., Menino 2B
  • Wednesday August 26: 4:30-7:30 p.m.: Menino 2B
  • Friday August 28: 6-9 a.m., Menino 2B
  • Monday August 31: 6-9 a.m., Yawkey Basement B