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Procedure Center COVID-19 Update

When COVID-19 entered a pandemic phase in March, our Endoscopy Center immediately followed guidelines established at the time, which included continuing to perform procedures on our patients with urgent issues, protecting our patients and staff, and coming up with ways to limit the use of PPE and critical supplies that might be needed at our local hospitals.  Most endoscopy centers in the area closed down.  We felt it was important to stay open so that Thurston and the surrounding counties would have at least one facility that could care for urgent issues to help our hospitals focus on sicker patients. Since no testing was available, we chose the safest approach, which was to treat every patient as if they had COVID-19.  Even now, the testing for active disease is not perfect, and depending on the test, you may be negative 15% of the time even if you are infected.  Even if the test was perfect, it would have to be collected 2-3 days prior to a procedure and you could have contracted the disease in the interim.  In the best interests of our patients, we plan on continuing to practice as if every patient has active COVID19.  These are the steps which we are following:

  1. All patients are screened prior to entering our facility.

  2. Drivers are not allowed in the facility unless they have to accompany the patient.  If so, they must go through the screening process.

  3. Patients will wear surgical masks as much as possible.  Obviously, this cannot occur if they are having a stomach exam.

  4. Our staff will wear surgical masks in all areas other than the procedure rooms. While in procedure rooms, all staff will wear N95 respirators.

  5. The procedure rooms have what is called "negative ventilation".  This means that the air is vented to the outside with ductwork and fans to make it unlikely that any air from the procedure room can pass to other areas. In addition, we leave the procedure rooms empty for a period of time to facilitate airborne virus particles being vented to the outside, making the room safer for the next patient. 

  6. We are using a limited number of our admission and recovery bays to allow 6 feet between patients.

  7. Careful attention is being given to ensure that all patient areas are appropriately disinfected.

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