Mount Nittany Health is responding to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and its impact on our inpatient and outpatient operations and staff. Just earlier today, we learned from the Pennsylvania Department of Health that two cases tested at Mount Nittany Health tested positive for COVID-19 (note: the PA Department of Health website lists cases of COVID-19 according to the county where the tested individual permanently resides, not where they were tested; this explains why Centre County continues to be listed as only having one case, according to the site).
As you can imagine, we are focused on balancing our responsibilities to the community with the needs, challenges, and concerns that our staff and providers on the front lines of care are facing. As always, we are amazed at the professionalism, compassion, and dedication of the Mount Nittany Health team. Last week, we formally initiated our incident command protocols and stood up our Mount Nittany Health COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Team. This multidisciplinary team is meeting daily, including weekends, to respond to clinical, operational, and public relations issues that arise and to guide our response and decision making. We are basing our decisions on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the needs of our community.
As we work to balance the health and safety of the community, we have implemented a variety of measures including eliminating meetings and events with 50 or more participants, discouraging group meetings of 20-50 participants, eliminating non-essential business travel, and developing guidelines for employee self-reporting and quarantine. We are also rescheduling all non-essential/elective services in order to maintain access to essential services while addressing staff, patient and community health and safety. These policies will be in effect through April 30, but we will continuously monitor events and determine the need to adjust. Additionally, we have implemented visitor restrictions at all Mount Nittany Health locations in order to limit the number of people in our facilities and best protect our staff, visitors and community. We are regularly working with our clinical staff to provide education and to respond to specific patient and staff situations. We do expect the number of patients who will be screened and tested to increase in the coming weeks.
We have received multiple requests from community groups to provide advice, guidance, and perspective. Here are some helpful links that might be of interest to you:
Helpful information, including frequently asked questions and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, can be found on our website at: mountnittany.org/coronavirus.
In addition to news and wellness-related tips on COVID-19, two video chats featuring Nirmal Joshi, MD, FACP, chief medical officer, Mount Nittany Health, are available on Mount Nittany Health’s Facebook page. Tune in every Thursday to view Facebook Live Q&A sessions with Dr. Joshi as he answers commonly asked questions about coronavirus and COVID-19.
As we work side by side for our patients, our community and each other, please remember the strong foundation that we have in the Mount Nittany Health team. It is times like this when the strength of our foundation will help us to weather the storm. Many of you have reached out to us with offers of help and support. We are developing a way to gather that support and will be back in touch soon on this topic.
In closing, we would like to express our gratitude to work with a team that is the epitome of courage, compassion and commitment. Those qualities are only rivaled by their skills and excellence in the work that they do. Thank you for everything that you do to support this work for our patients and our community.
President and CEO
Mount Nittany Health
Mount Nittany Health Foundation