Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 Cases:

BMC Total Inpatients

37

BMC Inpatients Requiring ICU Care

8

BMC Inpatients Under Investigation (pending + negatives treated as positives) 

21

Cumulative Staff Who Have Tested Positive

456 (as of 11/9) 

Massachusetts Cases

172,471

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

REMINDER: Staff COVID Testing Expanded Hours and Thanksgiving Travel

In light of the recent uptick of COVID cases in Massachusetts and the upcoming holiday season, we want to remind all staff and faculty of our travel policies, particularly as they relate to being cleared to return to work. Personal travel remains discouraged, particularly to restricted areas, and BMC work travel remains prohibited except in specific circumstances.

If you are planning to travel to restricted COVID areas (as designated by Massachusetts DPH COVID guidelines) during the Thanksgiving holiday, please schedule a testing appointment in advance. The WWCC will prioritize employees working in the inpatient, ED, and procedural areas, followed by outpatient clinical areas. For traveling plans and return to work date, consider the turnaround time for test results. Staff can only go back to work once they have been cleared by WWC.

All testing requires an appointment. Email [email protected] to request clinician support and make an appointment.

In this video, Cassandra Pierre, MD, our acting hospital epidemiologist, shares tips for planning for a safe holiday.

NEW: Paid Administrative Leave Now Available for Staff Awaiting COVID-19 Testing Results

BMC’s COVID-19 symptom screening tool is one of the best ways we can help each other, and our patients, stay healthy. Effective November 1, employees who complete their symptom screening tool, are exhibiting symptoms and/or have a confirmed positive exposure, and a COVID-19 test is ordered by the Working Well COVID team, are able to be compensated with paid administrative leave for one shift while their test results are pending.

Paid administrative leave can only be used in this situation once and is not able to be applied retroactively. It may not be used for pending test results associated with travel.

NEW: Hotel Accommodations for Staff and Providers

Thanks to an outpouring of support from our generous donors, BMC has secured funding to support a number of overnight stays at hotels in close proximity to BMC at no cost to the employee/provider. At this time, we are prioritizing the use of these rooms for providers and staff who may be facing one of the following cohabitation-related circumstances:

  • Providers and staff who cohabitate with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and remains symptomatic/quarantined
  • Providers and staff who cohabitate with someone who is immunocompromised (e.g., on immuno-suppressants, active hematologic malignancy)

To request an accommodation, send an email to [email protected] with a copy to your manager stating the following: your name, a brief description of your need, and desired dates/anticipated duration for your stay. Kevin will support your accommodation process from start to finish, and may follow up with your manager, if necessary.

Learn more about hotel accommodations and discounts here.

NEW: Kate Walsh Reiterates Preparedness and Public Health Measures for COVID-19 at Governor Baker’s Press Conference

Yesterday, Kate Walsh spoke at Governor Charlie Baker’s daily press conference on COVID-19. In her remarks, she noted that we are well prepared for a second surge and believe it will be much less disruptive to hospital operations, thanks to learnings from the first surge, improved testing capacity, information sharing across the city, the fact that BMC now has a year’s supply of PPE, and progress on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Walsh also reiterated that even though we are prepared for another surge, we must all do our part to stay safe and protect each other from COVID-19. We know that cancer, heart disease and injuries don’t stop during a pandemic, and in the coming weeks, we will begin to care for an increasing number of COVID patients as well as our patients with other illnesses. Public health measures such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and hand hygiene will help our ability to care for all those in need, and save lives.

Please remember:

  • Wearing a surgical mask – not a cloth mask – over your mouth and nose is mandatory for staff at all times on campus, unless you are alone in your office or eating. Cloth masks can be worn outside the hospital.
  • Employees working in group spaces (workrooms) should wear a mask at all times and refrain from eating in those spaces. We have additional seating on campus to allow for people to spread out when eating.
  • If you are eating or drinking, and have your mask off, you MUST create a physical distance of a minimum of six feet from anyone you are with.
  • Adhere to PPE guidelines while seeing patients. Eye protection is required when seeing any patient in any setting. Simple prescription eyewear is not sufficient. Any eye protection used must have side shielding in place. To see recommended options for eye protection, visit the COVID-19 Hub page.
  • All patients and visitors to BMC must also wear a mask or face shield while in the hospital.

REMINDER: All Out-of-State Vendors, Educators, and Other Personnel Must Follow MA COVID-19 Guidelines

All out-of-state visitors to a department, including representatives, educators, and other personnel must follow the Massachusetts state COVID-19 guidelines in order to enter the hospital.

All individuals entering Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival unless they meet one of the following criteria:

  • The individual comes to MA from a lower-risk state.
  • The individual can produce, upon request, proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 from a test administered on a sample taken no longer than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts.

Once they meet these requirements, all vendors should check into the Menino building, as they currently do.

REMINDER: Employees Must Only Wear N95 Masks They Have Been Fit Tested Into

In order to ensure your safety, please only wear a mask that you have been fit tested into. Masks are not interchangeable.

If you receive an error message while obtaining an N95 mask from the Scrubex machines in the lobbies, follow the instructions posted on the machine to get the system updated with their information. While system corrections are being made, you can call Transport to receive a mask. You must have a valid fit testing sticker with the type of mask to which you have been fit tested in order to receive a mask from Transport. If the sticker is lost or damaged, stop by the fit testing sessions to obtain a new sticker.

Any employees who uses a Gerson 2130 or SAS must be re-fit tested, as those are now out of stock. Any staff member that has not yet gone to be re-fitted for a mask that we have in stock will be turned away and asked to use a PAPR until they can attend one of the daily fit testing sessions.

The upcoming fit testing schedule can be found on the Hub.

NEW: Nuance Dragon Dictation Now Available in Epic

BMC has begun the second wave of implementation of Nuance Dragon Medical One (DMO), a real-time speech to text dictation application integrated with Epic, to allow all care providers to dictate directly into Epic.

The BMC Epic team will be available for DMO assistance through Friday, November 13, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. via Zoom (Meeting ID: 971 8148 0879).

Please visit the eMERGE page on the Hub for tip sheets and additional support services.