Burien’s St. Anne Hospital says it’s “prepared to meet the demands and challenges” caused by the recent COVID-19 surge, is well stocked with PPE and is implementing several clinical protocols “to ensure patient and staff safety.”

Formerly known as Highline Hospital/Medical Center, St. Anne’s staff say they are implementing Phase 3 visitor restrictions across their acute care facilities, which generally means no visitors except in limited circumstances, such as beginning or end of life care. This decision is intended to limit potential coronavirus spread as the surge in recent cases in the community increases the risk in hospitals.

Russ Woolley, Chief Operating Officer of CHI Franciscan St. Anne Hospital.

“We are so grateful to our front-line staff who courageously and compassionately step forward each day to care for our community during a time when our community needs us most,” said Russ Woolley, Chief Operating Officer.

“This virus, and the devastation it’s leaving in its wake, is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes,” Woolley added. “No community is untouched. No group or hospital is immune. It will take all of us, working together, to curb the spread. St. Anne and all of our CHI Franciscan hospitals are committed to keeping patients safe.”

According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, cases are significantly increasing in South King County. St. Anne’s has recently partnered with Public Health on three free community testing sites, including one that just opened last Friday at Highline College.

Woolley told South King Media that St. Anne’s has separated patient flow in the emergency department to keep potentially infectious patients separated from non-infectious patients.

“Our air systems are activated into negative airflow mode to maximize outside air circulation and internal air evacuation,” he said. “On the inpatient side, we have a designated COVID isolation unit, with all private rooms and 100% negative airflow to maximize safety. We have a specialty team of expert caregivers designated to care for patients in this unit.”

Woolley adds that CHI Franciscan screens all patients, staff and visitors that come to the hospital campus, and all patients are tested prior to admission or before scheduled procedures.

COVID-19 survivor Barbara Greenough (pictured above) of West Seattle is grateful to be back home after spending most of April and May battling COVID-19 at St. Anne Hospital in Burien.

Barbara was given less than a 5 percent chance for survival, but she made it.

Barbara, 61, and her younger sister Jan decided to get tested when the manager of Barbara’s senior independent living apartment complex recommended testing for all residents.

“I felt fine, maybe like I had some allergies, but I wanted to get tested to be safe,” Barbara said.

In early April, the pair visited Franciscan Prompt Care in Burien for testing. But Barbara’s diabetes and kidney disease put her in a high-risk category for COVID-19, so she was sent to the St. Anne Hospital emergency department for her test. While Jan did not test positive for COVID-19, Barbara did.

COVID-19 symptoms can come on suddenly and escalate quickly, said traveling critical care nurse Polo Amaya, RN, who cared for Barbara in St. Anne Hospital’s COVID-19 unit.

“Her decline was very rapid, but that isn’t unusual with COVID. It’s an insidious disease,” Amaya said.

Over the next month, as St. Anne Hospital’s healthcare providers worked to stabilize Barbara’s symptoms, she mainly recalls feeling cared for, she said.

“I remember nurses checking on me and moving me into different positions to help my breathing…There was always someone watching me, making sure I was OK,” she said.

“We are grateful to the community who has supported us with letters of support and donations,” Woolley said.

Anyone who would like to donate to support St. Anne front line workers may donate through the St. Anne Hospital Foundation supportstanne.org and select the COVID-19 relief fund, which directly supports front line workers caring for COVID patients.

“All of us must work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Woolley said.

    • Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wash your hands.
    • If you have any symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID, get tested as soon as possible. Please be safe this winter.
    • Further, if you are facing a medical emergency, please know that CHI hospitals and clinics are open and you should not delay care. We recognize patients may be worried, however CHI Franciscan has been, and is continuing to take, a number of steps to make sure that our hospitals and emergency services departments are implementing the top safety measures possible. The sooner you seek treatment for emergencies like heart attacks, strokes, or traumatic injuries, the better care we are able to provide.

And yes, he understands the difficulties dealing with the recent new restrictions issued by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“I recognize the current orders are difficult for everyone; however we urge the public to do their part and stay safe,” Woolley said.

Here are some of the ways CHI Franciscan is adjusting operations in light of an increase in COVID-19 cases:

    • They have implemented Phase 3 visitor restrictions across their acute care hospitals, which generally means no visitors except in limited circumstances, such as beginning or end of life care. This decision is intended to limit potential spread as increased cases in the community increases the risk in our hospitals.
    • Like many hospitals, they have had to acquire significant increases in PPE than were needed prior to COVID-19, while grappling with an unpredictable national supply chain. At this time, CHI Franciscan is currently well-sourced with N95 masks and other PPE. “We approach PPE sourcing not just as a single hospital or region, but as an entire system. We can rely on our national resources to help track down additional PPE if we are in need locally.”
    • They have taken several steps throughout the pandemic to address the challenges associated with providing care during this time. “We adhere to and communicate all relevant regulatory guidance on PPE usage in the hospital. We have also increased testing and screening processes, including thoroughly screening all employees before they begin their shifts and testing all patients who are admitted to the hospital. Any employees with symptoms are urged to stay at home until they can be tested.”
    • Through their Mission Control system, they can monitor every patient and every room across the system in a single snapshot, including tracking beds, ventilators, negative airflow rooms, and more. “Additionally, we can identify and adjust for system-wide staffing needs to ensure staffing levels are appropriate across all sites.”
    • “We appreciate the continued dedication of all of our employees who are on the frontlines of the pandemic serving our communities. We also thank our patients for their support and urge them to do their part to social distance and wear masks – it will take all of us working together to get through this crisis.”

St. Anne Hospital is located at 16251 Sylvester Road SW:

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