As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact individuals in our local communities and across the globe, our healthcare systems are working collaboratively each day with local public health authorities and community leaders to prepare for the future. The situation continues to evolve daily, and our plans and preparations are also evolving to meet community needs. Rest assured Ascension Seton Smithville and Ascension Seton Bastrop are prepared to provide the best care for our patients, protect our staff, and preserve needed supplies. We understand the need for clear and accurate information, and as healthcare leaders in the community, our goal is to help keep you safe and well informed.
Ascension Seton works collaboratively with the Texas Department of State Health Services and local public health entities to provide COVID-19 tests for individuals in the communities we serve. All Ascension Seton sites of care are prepared to screen and assess COVID-19 patients, per CDC guidelines. Depending on the acuity of care needed, patients may be transferred to the most appropriate Ascension Seton site of care.
Individuals who feel they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call the Ascension Seton hotline for screening. Available 6 a.m. to midnight, the hotline is staffed by triage RNs who will respond to public questions and implement the most up-to-date screenings and protocols to guide patients to the most appropriate care setting, including staying at home, virtual care or in-person testing at one of our Ascension Texas COVID-19 testing centers. The Ascension Texas hotline is 1-833-919-1680.
Ascension Seton has partnered with Austin Public Health and other local health agencies to set up a number of drive-through testing centers across Central Texas. These drive-through testing centers will only be for pre-screened individuals who are referred to the site by Ascension Seton providers or by the local health authority. The sites are designed so that community members will never have to leave their vehicle to be tested, which helps ensure both their safety and the safety of our associates.
We are prepared. At this time, we have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to care for patients at all Ascension Seton hospitals, including Ascension Seton Smithville and Ascension Seton Bastrop. As part of a national healthcare system, we are taking proactive steps with our distributor and suppliers to ensure access to PPE and supplies. We are arranging expedited shipments directly from manufacturers, assessing alternative products and taking advantage of our abilities as a national system to make intra-hospital inventory transfers when appropriate. We have also implemented conservation measures for PPE and other supplies, in anticipation of further supply chain disruption over the coming months due to COVID-19.
Each Ascension Seton hospital has a surge plan specific to that facility, and we continue to review and revise those plans based on what is happening within our community, as well as what we’re seeing happening in communities that have already seen large COVID-19 outbreaks.
In an effort to avoid a surge of patients that could overwhelm medical facilities in Central Texas and to support hospital-based caregivers, the single most important thing the community can do to help is to follow orders from local leaders and stay home. If you must go out for essential needs, keep a distance of at least six feet from people outside your household.
Ascension Seton Smithville and Ascension Seton Bastrop will continue to do what it takes to meet the needs of this community, and we ask you to do your part, as well. The situation continues to evolve each day, and we will adapt, as necessary, but we need your help in order to have a fighting chance at overcoming this pandemic. The sooner we act, and with your help, the safer our community will be.
Hospital Administrator, Ascension Seton Bastrop and Ascension Seton Smithville