Cape Cod Healthcare Provides Update on Virus Measures, Preparations

HYANNIS – Cape Cod Healthcare President and CEO Michael Lauf provided updates Thursday on the organization’s measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauf said that Cape Cod Healthcare is making preparations for what is to come within the next two weeks, and that they are planning to ramp up facilities to combat the novel coronavirus.

The number of intensive care units has quadrupled, according to Lauf, and staff members are being cross-trained to accommodate needs.

“So it’s an entire team effort of everyone at Cape Cod Healthcare,” he said on a conference call.

“We continue to evolve as we learn more about this virus and what others are experiencing.”

Lauf said the system is preparing for a surge of capacity within 10 to 15 days, and taking all possibilities into account.

The turnaround for testing results has also gotten faster, and Lauf is hoping to administer them within the next two to three weeks. With that, he is also planning for labs within the system to have the needed capacity.

A small number of employees have tested positive for COVID-19, Lauf said, and extensive protocols are being followed for staff that tested positive.

Lauf explained that every employee within the Cape Cod Healthcare network has been paid up to this point.

“Who knows what this crisis brings? But right now, nobody has been furloughed, everybody has been paid, and we have made that promise through the end of next week,” he said.

Lauf said that conversations with staff members and union representatives will be held in the near future, and further updates on employee compensation will be provided at a later date.

Cape Cod Healthcare has also paid to put members of the local homeless population up in hotel rooms during the pandemic. Lauf hopes that a long-term solution will be developed on that front.

Regarding a petition to reinstate Falmouth Hospital’s maternity operations, Lauf said that he understands how people feel, but it was a decision that he felt had to be made. That petition can be found by clicking here.

Lauf said that the Cape Cod community has stepped up with support, donations, and cooperation to social distancing practices. He urged residents to continue to follow rules about calling physicians first if they experience respiratory symptoms, as opposed to going directly to a hospital.

The Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation fund topped $300,000, according to Lauf, and the employee assistance fund has received seven applications.

Lauf believes that Cape Cod Hospital and the area as a whole will be more prepared for a coronavirus outbreak if a second wave hits in the fall, but it is still unclear as to what the fall will look like. For now, he said he is focused on the upcoming two weeks.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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