'Be prepared, not frightened': Scripps Health CEO's memo to staff about coronavirus

Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health, sent a memo to staff March 5 seeking to address any concerns or fear surrounding the novel coronavirus.

"Our concerns about 2019 novel coronavirus are valid, but they are cause for us to be prepared, not frightened," he wrote in the memo obtained by Becker's.

Mr. Van Gorder said it's important for Scripps Health employees to have an "accurate perspective" on the coronavirus. At present, the spread of COVID-19 has been relatively low, and of those who contract the virus, most have mild or no symptoms, he said.

To help keep employees regularly informed, Scripps Health is boosting its communications strategy to include daily email updates.

"What we know about COVID-19 is evolving each day, and I understand you will have a lot of questions. As we continue to learn, we will adapt our protocols, and your managers and supervisors will work with you to ensure you know the latest care practice," Mr. Van Gorder wrote.

He said Scripps Health is going "above and beyond CDC-recommended guidelines" to ensure staff and patient safety. The health system established a virus response team to oversee all coronavirus preparations. The team outlined a detailed summary of its preparations, which was attached to Mr. Van Gorder's memo.

Efforts include the implementation of visitor restrictions across all hospitals, creation of a lab testing process for COVID-19 and proactive N-95 mask fit-testing for all employees working in departments most likely to encounter contagious patients.

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