March 16, 2020 11:30 a.m.
To all members of the West Tennessee Healthcare team:
First of all, I want to express my appreciation to everyone in this organization for all of your efforts in dealing with a constantly evolving situation due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in this country. As the largest healthcare provider in the region, it is important that we set an example for others and remain calm and confident in this environment of rapid change.
I want to encourage all of you that we, as an organization, are prepared to deal with this crisis, and we are working diligently to protect you and our patients from the spread of the virus by limiting visitors, closing waiting rooms, limiting travel, and cancelling public events. We are also monitoring our inventories of supplies and equipment and limiting the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. limiting students) where we can.
At this time, there are NO confirmed cases in West Tennessee outside of Shelby County; however, those numbers are changing daily, and we are continuing to monitor the numbers through the Tennessee Department of Health, while working with other community hospitals and doctors’ offices.
I also want to remind you to regularly check your email, our secure website, our social media platforms, or our intranet link to Coronavirus Resources, for updated information, rather than relying on second-hand information. The Tennessee Department of Health website (tn.gov/health), and the CDC website (cdc.gov) are also good sources for authoritative information, but know that locally and statewide we are talking multiple times per day to coordinate our efforts.
The wellbeing of our team is a priority, so I encourage you to follow the simple rules to prevent the spread of the virus. We are proactively seeking help from local agencies and churches to help with child care needs in the potential weeks to come. Assisting with taking public sampling for testing off-site from our hospitals is being prepared. Gatherings, educationals sessions and other meetings are being canceled when possible out of an abundance of caution. Thank you again for your understanding and support as we continue to try and contain and restrain transmission of the virus.
Please feel free to reach out to your supervisors and members of the Executive Leadership Team if you have any questions or concerns. I will continue to keep you posted as the situation develops further. Once again, thank you all for your dedication to our patients and to West Tennessee Healthcare.
James Ross, President and CEO