Caregiver COVID-19 Questions

Common caregiver-specific questions about COVID-19.

What has Intermountain done to prepare for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

Intermountain has a team dedicated to staff and patient safety. Significant work has been completed to ensure our practices and polices match recommendations from the CDC and the Utah Department of Health. As new guidance is given, we’ll review our practices and update where necessary.

Where do I go for the most recent Intermountain-related information and resources about the outbreak?

The situation is rapidly changing. The most up-to-date information for Intermountain caregivers is shared on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) webpage.

What is Intermountain doing to make sure our caregivers are safe?

Safety is our first Intermountain fundamental, and caregiver safety remains our top priority. Intermountain is well prepared with the right plans, leaders, and teams. We’re working to ensure we have the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and procedures in place to keep caregivers safe. We’ll continue to follow all appropriate CDC, Utah Department of Health, and Intermountain guidelines and protocols.

What should I do if a patient arrives with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

If you encounter a patient who’s been to an area where community spread is occurring (according to the CDC) and who’s developed a fever, cough, or is having difficulty breathing, please ask the individual to put on a mask — and mention this request to the person’s provider if you aren’t the immediate caregiver. From that point forward, follow appropriate care process guidelines for your job area. Care process documents can be found on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) webpage.

Is my family at risk because of my job in a healthcare setting?

According to the health department and the CDC, there’s an extremely low risk of secondary exposure.

How will Intermountain ensure I’m safe at work if we take on numerous cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

Intermountain provides the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to care for many patients. By always using powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) and cleaning the hoods between uses, we’ll be able to safely care for numerous patients.

What if I’ve been exposed to someone who’s being tested for potential risk?

Please talk to your manager. If you’ve been exposed to a potential COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) patient, we follow recommendations from the Utah Department of Health and the CDC, and Intermountain guidelines.

What if I’m experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

If you’re experiencing any symptoms, please stay at home and immediately contact your manager and Employee Health nurse. Then contact Connect Care for screening. Upon screening completion, the doctor may recommend an in-person visit to your primary care physician, urgent care, or Emergency Department. Make sure you call in advance so appropriate protection can be arranged prior to arrival.

Why am I being asked to use a PAPR instead of an N95?

Intermountain Healthcare is trying to use their current supplies wisely. N95 masks are a consumable item where a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) is reusable. Future supply of N95s could be constrained and using PAPRs will allow us to extend the availability of N95s in locations where a PAPR can’t be used.

What if we have large numbers of bedside caregivers who are exposed to the virus, similar to at UC San Diego Health?

Standard precautions recommend that anyone with a cough be placed into droplet isolation. By following these basic principles, exposure will be minimized, decreasing the risk to all caregivers.

How do we prevent an incident similar to what happened at UC San Diego Health?

Intermountain is working to ensure all caregivers feel comfortable using the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and know how to put it on correctly and take it off safely.

How do I protect myself, my family, and loved ones from exposure?

If you’re taking care of someone with a possible COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) infection, follow appropriate isolation precautions. The overall general best practices to avoid contracting viruses are:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use a 60 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
  • Wear a mask in public if you have a fever, are coughing or sneezing, have a runny nose, or are having difficulty breathing.
  • Avoid hoarding masks, as this can potentially put the community at risk if supplies run low.
  • Stay home when you’re sick and keep sick children home from school.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.You’re encouraged to create your own personal emergency plan. Resources and information are available at bereadyutah.gov.

I've been contacted by the media; how do I respond?

If you or someone on your team is contacted by a member of the media, please direct them to a member of our Media Relations team. Remember: accessing patient data is against Intermountain policy unless you’re caring for the patient. Doing so will result in corrective action, including termination.

Can I work from home if needed?

Contact your direct supervisor about the potential of working from home and your department’s business continuity plan.

What if I don’t want to come to work because I don’t want to get sick?

The threat of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in the Intermountain West is currently low. There have been no confirmed cases acquired within the state of Utah. Please talk to your manager with your concerns. If needed, Ask HR is also available to discuss your options: 801-442-7547 or askhr@imail.org.

What if I have upcoming travel plans or have recently came back from a foreign country?

Before considering any travel, please review the CDC’s travel advisory website. Speak with your manager and Employee Health if you’ve visited any of the CDC restricted travel areas in the past 14 days.

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns?

Visit the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) webpage on Intermountain.net for the latest information. If you can’t find what you need on the site, speak with your manager, call your local Infection Preventionist, or your Employee Health nurse. Ask HR is also available to discuss HR-related questions: 801-442-7547 or askhr@imail.org. You can also email covid19@imail.org or participate in real-time discussions on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Yammer channel.

How do I find my Employee Health nurse?

You can speak to your manager or visit the Employee Health website.

What's the future outlook for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

From the Centers for Disease Control: "More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It's also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time."