Safety is our top priority as services resume

April 30, 2020 Providence News Team

Alaskans have answered the call to stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19 and flatten the curve. Our collective personal and professional sacrifices thus far have been successful in limiting the outbreak. The curve appears to have been flattened and health care capacity has been expanded via alternate-care sites and by leveraging telemedicine.

Health care organizations also postponed or cancelled many surgeries, procedures and diagnostic testing, adhering to state mandates. This was done to preserve our clinical capacity, including personal protective equipment, to prepare for a potential influx of positive COVID-19 patients. Thank you for your patience while we focused our care on those who needed us most.

As you know, on April 15, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that many non-urgent and non-emergency elective surgeries and procedures could be resumed starting May 4. We’re now at a place to reschedule and provide these procedures that were temporarily postponed at the height of the crisis. Our efforts to conserve and secure supplies and expand COVID-19 testing allow us to start providing these procedures safely, while also continuing to care for those affected by COVID-19.

Providence hospitals and clinics have safety measures in place and are following local, state and federal protocols to keep our patients and caregivers safe.  While we know safety guidelines work, many community members are fearful of contracting COVID-19, especially within a hospital environment. This fear may be preventing those experiencing serious symptoms, such as stroke or heart attack, from seeking life-saving care. We will continue to do all we can to inform our community that we are safe and ready to provide care to those who need it.

Throughout this process, safety is and always has been our top priority at Providence. That’s why we instituted a screening process for those who enter our ministry. In addition, universal masking, social distancing guidelines and our strict visitor policies continue to keep our ministries safe. Other actions we have taken include:

  • Our physicians and caregivers are equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and materials required in the treatment of COVID-19, as well as other surgeries and procedures;
  • We are expanding COVID-19 testing capacity for our patients and caregivers; and
  • We have thoughtfully segmented COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients to minimize the risk of exposure in our facilities.

We are monitoring COVID-19 closely and will reassess and revise our approach as needed to best serve our patients, caregivers and communities. We will continue to do this work in alignment with our core values, ensuring that all that we do is shaped by science, innovation and compassion. As our communities, country and world recover from the effects of COVID-19, Providence remains committed to providing safe, high-quality care. We are here to help heal.    

Thank you for all that you continue to do each day to keep our community and each other healthy and safe.  

Preston M. Simmons, DSc, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Providence Health & Services Alaska

Michael Bernstein, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Providence Health & Services Alaska

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