Be Safe Partners Encourage Community to Seek Care when Necessary
APPLETON, Wis. – For community members who are experiencing significant health events such as heart attack, stroke, mental health or other acute illness or injury, Be Safe partners would like to reiterate a hospital emergency room is still the safest, most appropriate place to get care.
Multiple reports across the nation have cited a significant reduction in emergency care visits during the COVID-19 response. Many experts link the decline in the volume of non-COVID-related issues to the fear people may have of coming into a hospital at this time.
Ascension Wisconsin, Gold Cross Ambulance and ThedaCare want the public to know it is safe to access emergency care and all systems are taking necessary steps to protect the public and team members.
“Staying home, ignoring the symptoms and suffering out of fear of COVID-19 is a risk people shouldn’t take with their health,” said Dr. Gregory Brusko, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Wisconsin. “Timely treatment is critically important for achieving the best outcomes and lessening the risk of complications. We are prepared and set up to safely treat patients who require emergency care.”
“We know the COVID-19 virus can be unsettling,” said Dr. Michael Hooker, ThedaCare Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Acute Care. “When early symptoms of other health conditions are ignored, they can worsen quickly and lead to lasting damage. Delaying emergency care is not an option, and all members of the community should know they can turn to hospital systems for safe emergency care.”
Ascension Wisconsin, Gold Cross Ambulance and ThedaCare have implemented additional infection prevention and safety measures to protect patients and employees from potential COVID-19 exposure
According to Nick Romenesko, Systems Director with Gold Cross Ambulance, their teams have undergone extensive training in decontamination measures in their response vehicles.
“We are very thorough in our process,” said Romenesko. “If we have responded to a person with COVID symptoms, we decontaminate all areas of the ambulance with antiviral chemicals. Once that is complete, we wipe down surfaces again. Only once an ambulance has been properly disinfected would it go back into service.”
Additional enhanced safeguards are also in place at Ascension Wisconsin and ThedaCare hospitals and clinics, including:
- Screening team members
- Cleaning and disinfecting all sites of care
- Visitor restrictions
- Waiting room distancing
- Staggered appointment scheduling
- Masking of those who enter a facility
- Offsite screening locations for potential COVID-19 patients with non-emergency symptoms
Ascension Wisconsin, Gold Cross and ThedaCare continue their COVID-19 readiness and response plans to care for community members who are experiencing symptoms. The most important things community members can do to reduce the spread of the virus include: practicing good hand hygiene, wearing a mask in public, maintaining appropriate social distancing in public, and staying home if you don’t feel well.
To learn more about Be Safe Wisconsin, visit www.BeSafeWisconsin.org.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call your primary care provider FIRST and you will be directed to appropriate care. Resources are also available at https://healthcare.ascension.org/covid-19 and https://thedacarecovid19.org/.
Partner agencies involved:
Ascension Wisconsin, Bergstrom Automotive, Calumet County Public Health, Catalpa Health, City of Berlin, City of Oshkosh, City of Neenah, The Community Blood Center, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Compassionate Home Health Care Inc., Gold Cross Ambulance, Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation, Green Lake County, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, Fox Valley Technical College, Fox Valley Veterans Council, FV-HERC, Lawrence University, Menasha Corporation, Mosaic Family Health, New North, Outagamie County, Outagamie County Public Health, Sexual Assault Crisis Center, ThedaCare, United Way Fox Cities, Waupaca County Public Health, Winnebago County, Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region