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Coronavirus Update: Enhanced Cleaning & Disinfection Improve Safety

Boulder Community Health provided an email update on May 26 to community members. CEO & President Rob Vissers, M.D. reported that the picture of COVID-19 in our community and at BCH is very encouraging.

Winning the battle against COVID-19

As of May 26, there were only three confirmed COVID-19 patients at BCH. To date, we have performed 681 COVID-19 tests on patients scheduled to have surgery at BCH. All were negative. Additionally, we have performed 94 tests on Labor and Delivery patients with only one positive result.

The results of our employee testing are just as reassuring. Of our 2,409 employees, 181 have been tested for COVID. We have had 17 positive results (10% of those tested, and less than 1% of our total employees). Contact tracing analysis indicates that the vast majority of employees testing positive contracted COVID-19 outside of BCH through community transmission.

We’ve seen similar reassuring results at our outpatient testing sites. We have conducted 289 tests since opening our drive-up testing sites in Boulder and Erie, with only six positive results.

Our community is winning the battle against COVID-19. Social distancing and masking are working. The many changes we’ve made at BCH to improve safety are working — limiting visitors, all patients and staff wearing masks, providing alternatives to in-person visits in our physician clinics, expanding our infection prevention measures, the list goes on and on.

We at BCH thank you for all you have done to bend the COVID curve in our community. And we implore you to continue your diligent efforts. COVID-19 has not gone away. Infection rates will flare up if we relax our individual masking and social distancing. I can assure you that BCH will continue all our efforts to keep our locations as safe as possible. The rest of this message lays out our methodical approach to cleaning and disinfecting BCH facilities.

Enhanced cleaning and disinfection improve safety

nurse in covid protection gearWe understand that some people feel real anxiety about visiting a medical facility at the current time. That’s why safety remains the top priority at all BCH patient care locations. We have a thorough and thoughtful plan for providing the safest possible environment for our patients.

Cleaning and disinfection is part of a 24/7 routine at Foothills Hospital. BCH’s Environmental Services (EVS) department includes 40 team members who work around the clock to safely and efficiently increase cleaning frequency while adhering to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recommendations.

To clean and disinfect, Foothills Hospital uses OxyCide™ Daily Disinfectant Cleaner – a one-step disinfectant specifically made for use in hospitals. This non-bleach formula is compatible with a wide range of materials and kills a multitude of organisms in five minutes or less.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a growing list of products approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. OxyCide™ Daily Disinfectant Cleaner meets the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.

All surface disinfectants on that EPA list can be used to kill viruses on surfaces such as counters and doorknobs. The full list can be viewed here.

Cleaning highly-touched surfaces more frequently

Highly-touched surfaces throughout the hospital — surfaces that are handled frequently throughout the day by numerous people — are disinfected at least two times a day.

These areas include:

  • Door knobs/handles
  • Door push plates
  • Arms/backs of chairs
  • Elevator buttons

A similar cleaning schedule is used in high-traffic areas, including:

  • Public restrooms
  • Coffee shop & café
  • Waiting areas
  • Elevators

The Emergency Department (ED) waiting room, however, is cleaned up to six times a day.

Other important cleaning measures

  • All procedure/exam rooms, inpatient rooms and ED rooms are cleaned and disinfected each day and after every patient is discharged.
  • All surgical areas continue to be thoroughly disinfected.
  • All equipment and machines are cleaned by clinical teams with assistance from EVS for thorough disinfection.

Members of the EVS leadership team support BCH staff on the floors by answering questions and conducting quality assurance inspections. They also conduct black light inspections to assess how well EVS staff have cleaned an area. An invisible dye is randomly sprayed or applied to a surface before cleaning. The dye must be completely gone to pass inspection.

Disinfection at physician clinics and urgent care centers

All equipment and exams rooms are thoroughly cleaned between patients at BCH physician clinics and urgent care centers. We are creating an even safer environment for our patients by increasing the cleaning frequency of all highly-touched surfaces, such as door knobs. Each clinic cleans every single door and surface twice a day.

BCH uses Super Sani-Cloth Germicidal Disposable Wipes — the number one disinfecting wipe in healthcare. This is in addition to nightly disinfection practices from a cleaning company.

Additional safety measures used at physician clinics and urgent care centers

  • Staff have adjusted schedules and workflows to minimize or eliminate time patients spend in waiting rooms. For example, patients are advised to wait for appointments in their cars and check in via the MyBCH Patient Portal.
  • Plexiglass counter shield barriers have been installed at each front desk.
  • Each patient is offered a new mask at check-in.
  • Additional hand sanitizer pumps have been installed for proper hand hygiene.
  • Furniture in all waiting areas has been re-arranged for proper social distancing.
  • Weather permitting, doors are propped open to improve ventilation.

You and your family should feel safe at BCH

Here are some additional factors that improve patient safety at BCH facilities.

  • BCH continues to see a very low number of COVID-19 patients.
  • All patients entering any BCH patient care facility are required to wear a surgical or cloth mask. All BCH staff wear masks.
  • We have limited visitors.
  • Every surgical patient is tested for COVID-19 before surgery.
  • All patients and visitors entering Foothills Hospital, Community Medical Center and Erie Medical Center are screened for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness or for known contact with someone with respiratory illness in the past 14 days, including suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Visit to learn more about our response to COVID-19.