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- COVID-19 UCSF Community Update
COVID-19 UCSF Community Update
Posted By support on April 7, 2020
|Please see the following message from UCSF:|
During this difficult time, UCSF is working closely with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office and San Francisco Department of Public Health as part of a coordinated public health response to serve the health care needs of our patients in San Francisco.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in San Francisco continues to rise, but at a slower rate than other areas of the country. We are cautiously hopeful that Mayor London Breed and Governor Gavin Newsom’s early and wise calls for sheltering in place and maintaining social distancing are helping to slow the growth in new infections.
UCSF epidemiologists forecast that the peak of cases in San Francisco may occur in the next month. We hope you are staying informed and protecting your health by practicing proper handwashing and social distancing guidelines.
For an overview of UCSF’s efforts and activities, please see below.
In early March, to prepare for a possible surge of patients requiring hospitalization, we dramatically decreased the patient census at our adult and children’s hospitals, by cancelling all “elective” inpatient admissions and outpatient visits. In addition, we moved much of our patient care to telemedicine, with some clinics operating now at 100% telemedicine, compared to our previous activity of 5%. This week, we have managed to add back some surgeries to treat such cases as brain tumors requiring urgent resection.
To manage the influx of patients seeking evaluations for respiratory symptoms, we opened a telemedicine screening hotline that refers patients assessed as being at high risk for COVID-19 to appointment-only outpatient screening clinics on our Parnassus Heights and Mission Bay campuses. We also have appointment-only screening clinics for our employees, at our Laurel Heights (drive-through) and Mount Zion campuses.
We have taken a number of steps to prepare for a possible escalation in patient cases, including building temporary accelerated care units outside our Parnassus Heights and Mission Bay hospitals to triage and provide short-term treatment for patients who require care without hospitalization. We also have converted one of our hospital floors on Parnassus Heights campus into a respiratory containment unit and established a respiratory intensive care unit.
In addition, we are working with the City and other hospitals to expand care, both by establishing additional facilities for COVID-19 patient care and providing funding for these efforts:
-Mount Zion: UCSF Health Increases Inpatient Capacity at UCSF Mount Zion Campus
-St. Francis: UCSF Health Collaborates with City and Local Hospitals to Increase Inpatient Capacity
Our scientists are working around the clock to improve the efficiency and supply of tests, to sequence the genomes of the viruses infecting Bay Area patients to determine where the viral outbreaks in the Bay Area came from, and how quickly the disease is spreading, and are working to identify therapies to treat the disease, through basic and translational research and clinical trials.
SF Chronicle: The man behind the sequencing of the coronavirus could have keys to the disease
NY Times: Hundreds of Scientists Scramble to Find a Coronavirus Treatment
UCSF News: Statement on UCSF Health’s Drive to Increase Testing Capacity for Coronavirus
The crisis has affected not only UCSF Health and our patients but our academic programs, which include schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy and a graduate research division. We have moved all instruction to online learning. Our 3rd and 4th year students are still doing their clinical rotations, but they have pivoted from primarily education rotations to workforce support. Consistent with sheltering in place, we have closed all non-essential campus activity, including all research activity other than research that is COVID-19 related.
As a public health reminder, all San Francisco residents who are not conducting essential services have been asked to shelter in place (see Mayor’s statement), except when attending to essential needs or exercising near home. Per San Francisco’s social distancing guidelines, if you are driving or taking public transportation in pursuit of exercise, you are traveling too far. When walking Mount Sutro on our Parnassus Heights campus, please maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and others. This can be difficult while on a narrow trail, but doing so will support the health and safety of yourself and your neighbors.
COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall:
On Thursday, April 16, from 5:00-6:00 p.m., UCSF is hosting a virtual town hall with UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood and Mark Laret, President & CEO, UCSF, to provide you with an update on COVID-19’s impact in San Francisco, UCSF’s response to the pandemic as a major health care provider for our community, and the impact of UCSF as one of the nation’s pre-eminent biomedical research institutions, and give you an opportunity to ask questions.
If you would like to learn more, please visit the following online resources:
UCSF COVID-19 Website
UCSF’s COVID-19 Patient Care and Research
Why Experts Are Urging Social Distancing to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak
UCSF News: Feeling Anxiety About Coronavirus? A Psychologist Offers Tips to Stay Clearheaded
UCSF Chancellor’s co-signature on The New York Times op-ed: 7 Medical Leaders to Politicians: Save Lives, Not Wall Street
How You Can Help
I hope you found this update useful and informative. Please stay safe, and care for your family and loved ones.