Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
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Mary Greeley Medical Center has taken a number of steps in response to growing concerns about novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you have specific questions about COVID-19, both the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have put out comprehensive information regarding symptoms, treatment, cases in the U.S. and much more.
An update regarding COVID-19 is being supplied for Mary Greeley employees. The update includes the number of confirmed cases, procedural changes affecting MGMC staff and happenings within the state as a whole. Please take the time to read this and stay informed.
COVID-19 Update [PDF]
Current Visitor Policy: 1 VISITOR PER PATIENT
Effective September 23, 2020
Mary Greeley Medical Center we will allow one support person per patient at one time. A support person is defined as someone who is needed for the patient’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. While patients may identify more than one support person, only one individual will be allowed with each patient at a time.
Support person(s) must be free from illness such as fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, or runny nose
- Support person(s) must wear a mask and will be asked to stay in the patient room except for bathroom breaks and visits to the cafeteria or coffee shop.
There will be some exceptions to the visitor policy. Exceptions to the one support person per patient policy are:
- 2 support persons for pediatric/minor patients
- 2 visitors for end-of-life situation.
- 1 support person for the Birthways patient's stay, no other visitors
- No visitors for patients on our Behavioral Health Unit
- No visitors for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Visitors & Staff will be screened at entrances.
COVID FAQ: Employee COVID-19 Testing
If you are concerned about symptoms:
If you are concerned about COVID-19 symptoms, do not report to work and please call your Primary Care Provider for guidance. Testing for COVID-19 will be ordered and performed at the clinic location (not at MGMC). COVID-19 tests are covered at no cost by Mary Greeley’s medical plan and by most other private insurance plans.
Test Iowa is another (free) option for COVID-19 testing. To be tested through Test Iowa, you must complete the assessment on testiowa.com first and then schedule your testing time.
Coronavirus symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least 2 of these symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F or greater
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Body aches
If you have had an exposure to someone with COVID-19
CDC defines an exposure as being within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 for greater than 15 minutes without proper PPE (i.e. no facemask or N95).
If you feel that you were around a COVID positive individual for longer than 15 minutes, within 6ft AND without wearing at least a face mask, please read the 2 scenarios below:
1. If you do NOT have symptoms:
You should return to work and monitor symptoms daily.
- You must wear a mask and face shield and practice appropriate physical distancing when you cannot wear a mask/shield (while eating or drinking). Practice good hand hygiene and socialize in small groups for short periods of times.
- If you would like tested, we encourage you to follow-up with your Primary Care Provider or get tested through Test Iowa. Test Iowa locations and schedules are available at testiowa.com
2. If you DO have symptoms:
- Notify your supervisor and stay home.
- Call your primary care provider for additional guidance.
- All testing (including the order and obtaining the test) will occur in the clinic setting
3. If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months:
- You do not need to be tested again for COVID-19
- Please follow our “Recommendations and Work Restrictions for Common Infectious Diseases” policy (found within Policy Medical)
If you have tested positive for COVID-19
Call your supervisor and Employee Health.
Stay home and isolate until at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared AND you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication AND other symptoms have improved.
If you have tested negative for COVID-19
Call your supervisor and Employee Health.
If you were tested because of a symptoms AND a confirmed exposures (as defined by CDC) and your test was negative, you need to stay home and isolate until at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared AND you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication AND other symptoms have improved.
If you were tested because of a confirmed exposure (as defined by CDC) but did not have symptoms, and test result was negative, may return to work right away.
If you were tested because of COVID-like symptoms and you tested negative, you can return to work when you have been fever free for 24-hours (please see the “Recommendations and Work Restrictions for Common Infectious Diseases” policy for further guidance).
If you tested for other reasons than COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed exposure you can remain at work (as long as our “Recommendations and Work Restrictions for Common Infectious Diseases” policy is followed).
IDPH COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
What you need to know about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines [PDF]
Will more than one dose of COVID-19 vaccine be needed?
It is anticipated the first available COVID-19 vaccines will require two doses separated by intervals of >21 or >28 days depending on the vaccine product. The different vaccine products will NOT be interchangeable. The series of two doses must be completed with the same vaccine product.
How will the COVID-19 vaccines be administered?
At this time, the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be administered by intramuscular (IM) injection. Depending on the brand of vaccine, reconstitution of the vaccine may be required. Additional information and guidance will be made available as it is received.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine a live vaccine?
There are currently multiple vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials. The first two vaccines anticipated to be available are not live vaccines. As more vaccine products become available, additional guidance will be provided.
Who will be eligible to receive the first available COVID-19 vaccines?
Limited COVID-19 vaccines will be available initially. The vaccine supply is expected to increase substantially in 2021. Groups prioritized for initial COVID-19 vaccination have not yet been confirmed but are expected to be critical infrastructure, health care workers and high risk individuals.
What is the recommendation for receiving influenza vaccine this fall/winter with the current COVID-19 pandemic?
It is likely flu viruses and the virus causing COVID-19 will both be circulating. The CDC recommends everyone > 6 months receive a yearly flu vaccine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is especially important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, the healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure. Healthcare providers should use every opportunity to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons.
We’ve heard concerns from clients and patients about the safety of a new vaccine. How do we address this?
This is a very important point. The CDC and IDPH will address vaccine confidence throughout the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The CDC is developing materials to address concerns about COVID-19 vaccines. Additional information will be shared when materials are available.
Do we know when the first doses of vaccine will be available?
No. We anticipate very small amounts of vaccine will be made available late fall 2020 with supplies ramping up in early 2021.
COVID-19 Q & A
We know that many of you may have questions regarding COVID-19. Some of those questions may pertain to the medical center as a whole, and some may be specific to you and your family.
Recently Answered Questions
January 12, 2021 - 7:56 am
Would it be possible for us to get an update on where we're at in the vaccination process? I'm a non-clinical employee but know of other non-clinical employees who have gotten it. I'm not sure what we've been given for vaccines, but with not all of our employees wanting the vaccine, it seems like by this time everyone who wants it should have had at least one dose?
As of Monday, approximately 800 Mary Greeley employees have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The second dose will be given starting this week to employees who received the first dose at least 21 days ago (Pfizer).
We have 539 patient care staff who still need their first dose. This group includes both direct patient care staff and staff that interact with patients intermittently, such as Dietary and Environmental Services. (Not all those employees want to get vaccinated at this time. Also, some have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to wait 90 days before being able to get the vaccine.)
We are receiving approximately 150-200 doses each week from Story County Public Health. We have 1,450 employees. Assuming we will continue to get this allotment, it will take approximately 8 weeks to get first doses to all employees who want it. We started clinics right before the holiday.
While patient care staff are the focus right now, we hope to get started scheduling non-clinical staff for vaccination as soon as we get the needed allocations from the state. These staff work in departments such as Accounting, HIM, Community Relations, and others. Some non-clinical staff have received the vaccine, but this is primarily because their responsibilities involve some level of contact with direct patient care.
Scenario: Person tests positive for COVID and quarantines for 14 days, then the spouse tests positive. Can recovered person come to back work?
Yes. The recovered person is considered immune or in a safe zone for 90 days once infected with COVID. They are still required to wear the proper PPE.
With the vaccines and decreased positivity rates in Story County when do you anticipate that we can stop using the face shield/goggles for non-COVID patient care?
This is a good and timely question. Based on CDC information regarding PPE use and community transmission, we feel that Mary Greeley staff should continue wearing face shields. While our positively rate has decreased, we are still in a minimal to moderate community transmission range right now. Also, the arrival vaccine is great news, but there is small portion of the population that has access to it thus far. We will continue to monitor the situation and inform staff of any changes.
What is the policy on visitors? We have noticed multiple visitors in one room at the same time plus visitors congregating in the 4th floor lobby.
Patients are allowed one support person. Patients should have not multiple visitors. If this happens, or if visitors are congregating, hospital staff should politely inform the visitors of the policy.
Just curious, how cold do the ultra-cold freezers need to be to store the Pfizer vaccine?
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is to be stored between -60C and -80C. We have a special freezer used for vaccine storage.
If we take the COVID vaccination and are sick after taking it, will we have to use PTO to stay home or will MGMC provide assistance with this?
PTO would be used under these circumstances.
There are a lot of people that are/will be skeptical about the COVID-19 Vaccine when it becomes available. I assume you will make this mandatory for employees. What actions will be taken if an employee refuses to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine when it becomes available?
At this time, Mary Greeley is not mandating the vaccine for employees. We hope that employees, especially those providing direct patient care, will seriously consider getting the vaccine.
Can we please have an updated "Outpatient COVID-19 Screening with an appointment" handout? The last copy given to our department is dated 5/18/20.
It actually was updated in June. Contact Ron Smith (#2415) for updated handout please.
Environmental Services used to come around and spray things down at night. Now they don't come to our unit at all anymore besides to clean rooms during the day. Why is this?
ES has actually increased its fogging schedule. The department has added additional fogging times each day based on several factors, including the type of unit and the number of COVID-19 patients. The majority of the square footage is fogged on the overnight shift because that’s when space is much more accessible. Times have been added on the evening and dayshift for fogging and for wiping nurses stations and keyboards. A friendly reminder: Wiping shared spaces is everybody’s responsibility. The best practice is to wipe the space before using it and wipe the space before you leave it.
a. How are we ensuring that it remains between -70 and -80 degrees during distribution, storage, and doses, once removed from storage, are being given within 6 hours? These are VERY difficult storage conditions to maintain and the vaccine may not be effective if these storage conditions are not met. This is my biggest concern. Especially if this is not maintained by pharmacy staff at MGMC.
b. Are we going to have room for this vaccine in the freezers (that maintain this temperature requirement) we have at MGMC?
c. It is my understanding these are multi-dose vials that contain 3-5 injections per vial. Are we wasting doses if we don’t have 3-5 people that need it within the 6 hour time frame it is out of the required storage temp?
d. Do the people who will be handling this vaccine understand the importance of the handling of this vaccine and what training will be provided to them?
We have great plans in place for ensuring the Pfizer vaccine remains at the appropriate temperature. We have an ultra-cold freezer onsite that is constantly monitored by our Aeroscout system. Any temp variation will immediately be reported. We have space in our freezers for the vaccines allocated to MGMC.
We will not be wasting these vaccines. We will have all employees scheduled for a vaccination time, and this will help us ensure that we have just the right amount of vaccine thawed and ready for use within the 6-hour time frame.
Also, the vaccine manufacturers have sent out very specific playbooks to ensure we understand how to handle these vaccines. Pharmacy staff will be a direct partner in this vaccination process and will help ensure the vaccine is correctly prepared.
With recent numbers, has any consideration been given to employees working remotely again? Or being told they have to if they can?
It is best to talk to your supervisor about working remotely. Human Resources recently shared some information related to this topic, including the need to ensure cybersecurity. Your supervisor should have this information.
Answers to more of your questions can be found on the COVID-19 Q & A page.
Submit a Question
Visitor & Staff Screening
We are currently screening staff and visitors as they enter the hospital’s facilities.
Staff will be asked screening questions (subject to change) at entrances. Based on response to screening questions, employee may be asked to return home and contact their provider, supervisor and Employee Health.
Asymptomatic employees who have been exposed to a COVID-19 individual:
- Can report to work.
- Notify Employee Health by email EmpHealth@mgmc.com or phone 515-239-2639 that they meet the criteria above.
- If at any time, the employee develops symptoms, do not report to work and contact your supervisor, provider and Employee Health.
- Complete the symptom monitoring log [PDF] for 14 days from the date of return from travel.
- Turn completed logs into employee health.
Please be aware that all doors to the main campus will be locked and badge-access will be temporarily suspended on all doors except:
- Emergency Department (Open 24/7)
- Main Lobby Entrance (6am-8pm)
- North Addition/Bliss Entrance (Open 7am – 6pm, M-F)
- McFarland/MGMC Tunnel (Open 6am – 6pm, M-F)
- Loading Dock (Open 5am-7pm, M-F)
The skywalk entrance to the medical center will be closed.
Staff should plan to get to work a little earlier to ensure they can get through screening and clock-in on time.
We know this will be an inconvenience for staff. Everyone is doing great work during this complicated time, and we appreciate your patience, understanding and commitment to safety.
Employee Return to Work Procedure
COVID-19 Lodging Options for Staff
Some area hotels are offering Mary Greeley Medical Center employees a discounted rate during the current COVID-19 situation. In the event that you do not want to stay at your home due to living with someone who has COVID-19 or a compromised immune system, there are several optionsl.
You will need to show your Mary Greeley Medical Center ID in order to receive the discounted rate. Please note that unless you are told by Human Resources that you need to stay elsewhere, employees are responsible for paying for their own rooms.
View area hotels offering discounts [PDF]
Filing for Unemployment
Start an Unemployment Claim
Finding your Weekly Wages
We've created some instructions for locating your weekly earnings in Dimensions:
How to Find Your Weekly Wages [PDF]
This handbook explains your rights and responsibilities when filing an unemployment claim. It answers common questions and contains general information. 2019 Unemployment Handbook
Visit www.mgmc.org/foundation for additional information.
Doctors on Demand - Telehealth Option
Through our benefit plan, employees now have access to Doctors on Demand - a service that provides virtual doctor's visits through a smartphone or tablet. Currently the copay is waived to reduce the number of people going into physician offices.
Employees can sign up by clicking here and should have their insurance card handy when doing so.
(Note: this option may work for employees with other insurance too. Those employees will need to try their card numbers to see if they are accepted).
Valet Temporarily Closed
We have temporarily suspended valet parking. This decision was made to help ensure patient, visitor and staff safety during the COVID-19 crisis. People who come to the medical center will need to self-park in the parking ramp.
Non-Essential Work Travel Ban
Mary Greeley Medical Center has imposed a temporary ban on all non-essential work-related travel for all staff. This includes all non-essential conferences and meetings regardless of location. If you have questions about whether or not you should attend a conference or meeting, consult with your leader.
This does not apply to personal travel. If you do plan any personal travel, please see below for CDC recommendations when returning home:
- If you travel to one of the CDC identified Level 3 countries then you need to follow all CDC recommendations and instructions for self-isolation.
- If you have traveled to areas that are not identified as Level 3 and are asymptomatic, you should return to work and follow standard preventive measures.
- If you are ill, stay home, contact your physician and follow our standard illness reporting process.
This work-related travel ban is in response to increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus, a desire to keep our staff safe, and the need to have staff readily available should we experience an increase in patients.
Any work-related travel expenses that may have been incurred, including airline tickets or conference registrations, will be covered by the medical center.
An emergency response team is meeting regularly to ensure proper planning is in place and respond to any new developments. Dr. Daniel Fulton, McFarland Clinic infectious disease specialist, is doing presentations on the virus for medical center and clinic staff.
Medical Center Staff
The health and safety of our staff is vital to the health and safety of our community. and many of you are trained in prevention measures when treating patients who have potentially infectious conditions. We are currently using special signage on patient rooms when investigating a potential or confirmed case of an infectious disease. This signage alerts everyone – nursing, dietary, environmental services – of prevention measures that should be taken before entering the room.
Supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, masks and gowns, are being closely monitored. Critical diagnostic and medical equipment is also being monitored. Shortages are expected and conservation measures that respect patient and staff safety have been put in place across the medical center. PLEASE NOTE: We have received inquiries about purchasing PPE from the medical center. All our supplies are intended for patient care. We do not sell PPE.
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) & Other Partners
Mary Greeley Medical Center provides Story County Public Health services and is working closely with IDPH on the response to the coronavirus. If we are investigating a potential COVID-19 case, we will work with IDPH to complete a thorough clinical assessment, determine whether lab specimens are to be collected, and the need for further monitoring or self-quarantine. We are also in contact, as needed, with officials from Ames, Story County, the local school district and Iowa State University.