Coronavirus, March 18: 9 notes from physicians, hospitals .

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

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Here are nine notes from hospitals, health systems and physicians on their responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Massachusetts General Hospital

Physician Daniel Horn, MD, is pleading with patients not to visit the hospital without an appointment, he told The Atlantic in an interview. He anticipates health systems will develop dedicated clinical sites to manage patients with respiratory illnesses. Staffing at the hospital is at 10 percent to 30 percent, with physicians and healthcare workers being asked to work from home as much as possible.

2. UPMC

After receiving guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to reschedule elective admissions and surgeries, Pittsburgh-based UPMC officials haven't decided what to do, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The health system is unsure about canceling all elective procedures.

3. Lifespan Health System

Providence, R.I.-based Lifespan is telling clinicians to wear the same protective mask for two days, according to local news station WPRI. Clinicians do not need to wear them two days straight, but should get two days of wear before disposing of them.

4. San Francisco hospitals

Hospitals across the country are working to acquire additional ventilators. While many San Francisco hospitals have enough ventilators now, they are working on coordinating where they will be best served, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

5. Kaiser Permanente

To test more patients while also limiting the spread of COVID-19, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has developed five drive-thru testing sites in Maryland and Virginia, according to The Washington Post.

6. Mayo Clinic

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic will defer elective care for at least eight weeks.

Amy Williams, MD, dean of the practice at Mayo, said elective surgeries, procedures and office visits will be deferred at all Mayo locations, effective March 23, for the safety of staff and patients. Mayo will continue providing semi-urgent, urgent and emergency care.

7. Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children's Hospital will begin serving inpatients up to and including age 21 to make space at other hospitals for patients infected with the novel coronavirus, The Seattle Times reported.

Jeff Sperring, MD, CEO of the hospital, which primarily treats patients from birth until their teenage years, told the newspaper Seattle Children's will also start accepting children from other hospitals in the area.

8. Steward Health Care

Dallas-based Steward Health Care said its northeast division will transform a Massachusetts community teaching hospital into the first "dedicated care center" in the U.S. for treating patients infected with COVID-19.

The transformation of Carney Hospital, a 159-bed facility in Dorchester, Mass., began March 17. Steward, which operates 35 hospitals in nine states, said the hospital will create negative pressure patient wards and enhanced patient isolation protocols.

9. CommonSpirit Health

Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health said March 17 that it will suspend patient billing related to the testing and treatment of the new coronavirus.

"The last thing our patients should worry about if they experience symptoms characteristic of this coronavirus is the cost of seeking care," said Lloyd Dean, CEO of CommonSpirit Health.

Editor's note: This story was updated March 18.

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