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Silver Cross CEO, CMO discuss the hospital’s experience with COVID-19

“They worked hard to make sure we had the proper PPE from the beginning, from day one,” Colby, pictured above, said. “And we’ve had 95 masks, gloves, gowns, shields – everything.”

In addition the community also donated masks and shields to the hospital, Colby said.

So out of Silver Cross’ 2,900 employees, only 10 “had an exposure” to the virus and tested positive, Colby said and “two or three” were hospitalized, she added.

All 10 employees were furloughed with pay for 14 days, she said. No one died.

“And all of them are back to work,” Colby said.

In addition, Silver Cross recently earned its 11th consecutive “A” for patient safety from the Leap Frog Group.

The Leap Frog Group is a national nonprofit organization “driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care,” according to a news release from Silver Cross.

“The fact we were able to earn this during a pandemic is a testament to the team at Silver Cross,” Colby said.

Silver Cross admitted its first covid patient on March 12 and has since tested 2.069 people, of which 425 tested positive, Colby said.

Also since March 12, Silver Cross had 1,128 people hospitalized that either had covid or were suspected to have covid, according to Dr. Christopher Udovich, vice president and chief medical officer at Silver Cross.

Of those hospitalizations, 350 were positive, he said. Thirty-eight died, Colby said.

“And we’re proud to say 275 were discharged home and they are safe,” Colby said.

At its peak, Silver Cross had 86 covid-related patients in the hospital. As of Wednesday, that number was 38, Colby said.

“We’re fortunate that in the last week, we’ve seen a decline in the numbers,” Colby said.

Early on, most of the patients were very sick. Most of them were intubated or on ventilators and needed either 2 to 1 or 1 to 1 nursing care, and staff was increased to meet the need, she said.

“Today the positives coming in have symptoms that are much less acute,” Colby said. “We’ve had less use of ventilators and intubation.”

To address the virus, Colby said Silver Cross relied on instructions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and World Health Organization (WHO), even though that information often changed rapidly, Colby said.

“No one knew the right things to do,” Colby said of those early days. “Now it’s pretty clear what we need to do…our staff did an amazing job of taking care of patients once they had their sea legs.”

At first, test results for COVID-19 were slow to arrive, taking seven or more days. Now tests results are back in 24 hours, she said.

Silver Cross also offers a rapid test for patients about to have surgery, Colby said.

Patients who come to the hospital with symptoms of covid – fever, body aches, chills, difficulty breathing, loss of taste and smell – are immediately isolated, Colby said.

“And everyone here wears masks, either a cloth marks or a procedural paper mask,” Colby said.

Silver Cross has also installed thermal scanners. These scanners check the employees’ temperature when they walk past them, she said.

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