Coronavirus: Preparedness and Now What?

COVID-19: UPDATE March 22, 2020

Ventura MedStaff is dedicated and committed to ensuring a healthy work environment for all our current and future working travelers and internal staff. As the Coronavirus continues to impact us in ways we are not aware of yet, the safety and health of our employees, clients, and the community continue to be our top priority. Our thoughts and prayers to each one of you and your families on the front lines every day and to our internal staff and their families. We have provided some helpful information below to assist you during these, always changing, uncertain times.

Caring for our Travelers

• If mandatory quarantined by your facility or physician, Ventura will cover your regular scheduled hours to be paid based on your contract, including stipends.
• If self-quarantined, you would be eligible for reduced pay according to the Families First Response Act, effective on April 2, 2020.
• If you become hospitalized, need medical care, testing, or any treatment related to COVID-19, you will not be charged or billed for those services per the Federal Government.
• While on contract with Ventura, if you are hospitalized or placed on extended quarantine, your pay per your contract for regular scheduled hours and stipends will be paid.
• In addition, Ventura will abide by the Families First Response Act, effective April 2, 2020. This includes additional benefits with Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Medical Leave.
• The facility in which you are working will have procedures in place for preparedness and early identification of COVID-19. Please be aware of your facilities guidelines/policies for patient isolation, quarantine, monitoring, protective equipment, and procedures to prevent transmission.
• Employee Assistance Program – reminder we have this free benefit to anyone who may need additional support or resources during this time.
• 24-7 COVID-19 Response Chat on our website. www.venturamedstaff.com
• Please continue to stay engaged with your Ventura Recruiter on a regular basis, and please inform us if you become ill or unable to work.

As of last week, our corporate staff are working virtually from home with business as usual. Our staff behind the front lines are working to serve you the best we can and can ensure we will do everything in our power to support our travelers.

Please continue to follow the CDC’s safety guidelines, as they are the gold-standard for providing updates on COVID-19 and precautionary measures.

In addition to the 24-7 Chat on our website, we will be sending out weekly updates on the COVID-19 situation, and more often, if necessary. Please reach out to your Recruiter or Human Resources for any questions or additional information that you feel we can assist you in. God Bless!

Additional Resources/Links:

Ventura MedStaff – 24/7 Chat
Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus disease advice for the public
American Nurses Association Coronavirus Information

Ventura MedStaff
Operations/Human Resources
twestlund@venturamedstaff.com

We at Ventura MedStaff, want our travelers to be prepared and informed, as you are some of the most vulnerable due to working in the medical field. We want to make sure you are prepared and educated and know what do! If you are quarantined per your facility, Ventura will evaluate on a case by case basis and there is a possibility that hours may not be guaranteed, as well as stipends that apply during that time quarantined, up to 14 days.

The hospital in which you are working will have procedures in place for preparedness and early identification of viruses such as the Coronavirus that has currently been identified in multiple countries, including the United States.

If you have not already been made aware of those policies as a traveler, please inquire with your supervisory staff. There will also be policies for patient isolation, quarantine, monitoring. You will also want to be up to date on your facility’s guidelines on protective equipment and procedures to prevent transmission.

Ventura will ultimately match what the facility guidelines are, and both follow as such, and communicate to each traveler it involves. This would be a case by case basis, as not all hospitals and systems will follow the same standards.

The current Coronavirus is a respiratory illness which is caused by a novel (new) strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Illnesses confirmed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) range from mildly sick to severely ill and dying. In some people, novel coronavirus can progress to pneumonia or respiratory distress. People with pre-existing conditions seem more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill.

Symptoms may occur within 2-14 days after exposure and include:

• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath

There is no specific antiviral treatment

If you have travel plans to China or any of the affected areas, please consider that the CDC has advised against traveling to any of the affected areas.

If you have traveled to China or been in contact with an individual who has traveled to China and develop a fever or new lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing) do not go to work. Consult your healthcare practitioner once symptoms occur for early symptomatic treatment. Call ahead before going to an outpatient clinic or emergency department.

Prevention

The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

• Obtain detailed travel history for patients with fever or acute respiratory illness.
• Ask patients presenting with fever, cough and difficulty breathing:
o Has this started within the last 14 days?
o Have you recently traveled to Wuhan City or anywhere else in China?
o Have you been in contact with someone who has traveled to China?
• Notify Infection Control at the facility immediately if you have a suspected patient, they will notify the CDC and State.
• Isolate the patient.
• Use a facemask on suspected patients.
• Any time you are near a suspected patient wear PPE (gowns, gloves, fit mask – N-95, and eye protection). For current information please visit the websites for the CDC and World Health Organization.

When is someone infectious?

The onset and duration of viral shedding and period of infectiousness is not yet known. Looking at similar viruses, like SARS-CoV-2 RNS, it may be detectable in the upper or lower respiratory tract for weeks after illness onset. Existing literature regarding SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses suggest the incubation period may range from 2-14 days.

Can people who recover from COVID-19 be infected again?

The immune response is currently not understood. Patients with MERS-CoV infection were unlikely to be reinfected, but it is not yet known if a similar immune response will exist with COVID-19.

How should healthcare personnel protect themselves when evaluating a patient who may have COVID-19?

Here is what the CDC recommends – Although the transmission dynamics have yet to be determined, a cautious approach to persons under investigation for the coronavirus is recommended. Healthcare professionals should use Standard Precautions, Contract Precautions, Airborne Precautions, and use eye protection when providing care for patients with confirmed COVID-19.

How should COVID-19 be treated?

There are currently no antiviral drugs licensed by the FDA to treat COVID-19. Clinical management for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is focused on supportive care of complications, including advanced organ support for respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure. It should also be noted that not all patients with COVID-19 will require medical supportive care.

Should travel nurses anticipate coronavirus screenings for new job placements?

Possibly, yes. If you are going to a facility that requires a coronavirus screening, your recruiter or onboarding will inform you and get you the proper forms/documentation needed.

Additional Resources:

Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Situation Summary
World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus disease advice for the public
American Nurses Association Coronavirus Information
CDC Nonpharmaceutical Interventions resources
CDC Flowchart to Identify and Assess 2019 Novel Coronavirus
CDC’s coronavirus frequently asked questions page
CDC’s Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019