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In March 2020, New York City (NYC) became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States (US). As healthcare facilities were overwhelmed with patients, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was transformed into the nation’s largest alternate care site (ACS): Javits New York Medical Station (Javits). Protecting healthcare workers during a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in a non-traditional healthcare setting posed unique challenges. We describe components of the healthcare worker safety program implemented at Javits.
Javits, a large convention center transformed into a field hospital, with clinical staff from the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
Healthcare Worker Safety Methods:
Key strategies included ensuring one-way flow of traffic on and off the patient floor; developing a matrix detailing PPE required for each work activity and location; PPE extended use and reuse protocols; personnel training; and monitoring adherence to PPE donning/doffing protocols when entering or exiting the patient floor. Javits staff who reported COVID-19 symptoms were immediately isolated, monitored, and offered a SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
A well-designed and implemented healthcare worker safety plan can minimize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection for healthcare workers. The lessons learned from operating the nation’s largest COVID-19 ACS can be adapted to other environments during public health emergencies.
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