Infection Control Measures for COVID-19 at 24/7 Facilities

All of the DSHS 24/7 facilities began enhanced infection-control measures before COVID-19 was found in the U.S. as part of our typical response to influenza. The DSHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities administrations provide services to those in our care and custody at these 24/7 facilities, which include:

 

We are tracking positive cases and recoveries for both the staff and clients who work and live at these facilities. That page can be found here.

Even before we had a first case of the virus at Western, we took hospital-wide measures to protect our patients, including the geriatric clients, because most of our client population have underlying health issues that make them vulnerable to the disease.

Before the first COVID-19 case at a DSHS facility, we:

  • Initiated Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, posting signs and educating staff about covering your cough, respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and staying home if you are ill.
  • Had established PPE protocol and followed infection control guidelines
  • Added a video loop in the lobby of all facilities encouraging the non-pharmaceutical interventions.
  • Began increasing temperature taking of all Western State Hospital patients.
  • Increased ward cleaning to every 4 hours along with increased cleaning of high touch areas. 
  • Limited access to the facility restricting visitors and non-essential staff.
  • Tested patients with influenza like symptoms using the rapid testing, PCR testing and COVID 19 testing.
  • Directed the initiation of Screening while social distancing at facility lobbies.
  • Established a staff communication system using email, electronic bulletin boards and a variety of other sources.

 

In line with emerging Department of Health protocols, we implemented the screening of staff on all shifts and required PPE for isolation and quarantine, while encouraging staff to wear their own masks in areas not identified with COVID positive patients.

Upon determining we had a positive COVID patient we:

  • Implemented isolation and quarantine wards.
  • Limited staff movement across units.
  • Stopped unit transfers.
  • Started testing staff.

 

We have supplied PPE to staff who are working directly with patients who are COVID-19 positive following the Department of Health’s guidance. 

Our number one priority is keeping employees and the clients who are in our care and custody safe. We continue to evolve our response as our guidance from the Department of Health changes. We are proud of the work of our staff has done to limit infection as much as possible and we are grateful for our public health partners to help guide us on what we are doing right and what we can improve.