Many may feel that the COVID-19 crisis is over since we are well past the initial peak, but we at UMass Memorial still have a lot we are doing in our response, not to mention our fast-paced recovery. We’ve been thinking about our work in these three categories: Response, Recovery and Reimagine. We have much to be proud of at UMass Memorial. Here are a few examples:
- Community COVID-19 Testing: As part of the state’s “Stop the Spread” testing campaign, our teams at Marlborough Hospital and our Worcester locations have done a tremendous job taking care of our communities. Marlborough Hospital has conducted 9,104 tests with a positivity rate of 1.64%. In Worcester, our teams have conducted 4,179 tests at “pop-up” sites in underserved neighborhoods with a positivity rate of 2.01%. Our teams have done a tremendous job taking the COVID-19 fight “to the streets” to keep this virus at bay.
- COVID-19 Community Outreach: Because of our community outreach, we’ve been educating people in underserved areas through COVID-19 prevention techniques and giving out free masks. We’ve distributed 5,620 education kits (in six languages) in Worcester since April and 400 kits in Marlborough and Hudson since July. This, coupled with our testing efforts, are why the incidence of COVID-19 has remained low in our region.
- Saliva Testing: Thanks to the innovative spirit of our pathology teams, we were the first in the state (and still the only) to offer saliva testing for COVID-19. And without going into too much biology detail, we offer the most accurate, precise testing of COVID-19 in the state!
- Convalescent Plasma: Under the leadership of Jonathan Gerber, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Medical Director for our Cancer Center, we were the first in the state to offer convalescent plasma treatment as part of a clinical trial. While the initial results are promising and we have more to learn, so far we’ve treated 151 inpatients and 95 of those patients have recovered.
- RADx Tech Clinical Study: David McManus, MD, and Laura Gibson, MD, are leading a Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) study that will evaluate the performance of point-of-care COVID-19 testing, which could be a game changer for testing in the future.
- Vaccine Trial: Lastly, Robert Finberg, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, is leading a study of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a national 120-site study. As a graduate of the Medical School, I’m so proud of our academic partner for spearheading these treatment and testing studies.
Our recovery efforts have been overwhelmingly positive and just as impressive as our COVID-19 response, and that is because of the hard work of all of our caregivers. Our ambulatory clinics are back to 99% of volume compared to this same time last year, our ORs and procedure volumes are back to 98%, and our inpatient areas were the first to return to normal operations, while also still caring for the few COVID-19 positive inpatients. This is extraordinary and far exceeds the performance of many other health care systems in the state!
Now is the time to reimagine what UMass Memorial Health Care will look like well past the COVID-19 crisis and far into the future. These are the areas we are focused on:
- Safety #1: We remain committed to our safety protocols – to keep each other and our patients safe.
- Access: We promise to do our best to get every patient in who wants to be seen.
- Innovate: Innovation is the foundation of our culture. Our army of 14,000 problem solvers got us through the worst crisis of our lifetimes. Just think of what our innovations can do for our future.
- Respect: Our commitment is to treat each other and our patients and visitors with the utmost respect every minute of every day.
Very Special Sneak Peek
What we at UMass Memorial Have accomplished together is remarkable. To see a glimpse of the exceptional commitment of our caregivers, I invite you to watch this preview of what we are calling the UMass Memorial Health Care anthem video that we will debut in a special Facebook premiere on Tuesday, September 29, at noon.
Think of this short preview video as a “trailer” you see at the movies. It shows just how essential our caregivers are – pre-COVID-19, during a crisis and long after – taking care of our patients and each other. I fill with pride when I watch this video, and I hope you will too. I can’t wait to see the full-length video later this month!
Below are links to the video on our social media sites for easy navigation and sharing.
We have much to be proud of at UMass Memorial because we have each other. Enjoy!