A look at the safety measures from the past year, and when we might be able to return to ‘normal’

Over the past year, we’ve implemented many different measures to go the extra mile to keep UI Health Care a safe place for those who work and receive care here.

As more and more Iowans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, you might think that we could automatically begin standing down the extra precautions put into place for the pandemic.

However, COVID-19 is still prevalent in our community, and only 19.3% of Iowans and 24% of Johnson County residents have been fully vaccinated. We need to maintain safety precautions in accordance to this risk and be able to respond quickly if there is a resurgence.

As a result, much like the safety measures we’ve put into place over the course of the pandemic, returning to a more pre-pandemic “normal” will be done in stages, with careful consideration.

How will modifications be determined?

UI Health Care teams, including members of our infection prevention team, hospital operations, and safety and security, are already meeting to evaluate the metrics needed to modify some of these measures.

These metrics include things like the percentage of UI Health Care faculty and staff that have been fully vaccinated, as well as progress in community vaccinations and the rate of COVID-19 infections across our state and infection rate trends in our nation.

All changes implemented because of the pandemic will need review and approval from the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) before we modify them to make sure we remain well prepared to handle the unpredictability of the pandemic.

How will modifications be implemented?

All modifications will be carefully considered and phased in based on the metrics that measure COVID-19 safety. Some changes we’ve implemented might be with us permanently, while others may be altered or allowed to lapse. Whenever modifications are made, you’ll hear about them first on The Loop, through Noon News, and on our COVID-19 hub. Listed below are some of the modifications the team is reviewing.

  • Visitor restrictions
  • Entry screening and access control for faculty, staff, patients, and visitors
  • Plexiglass shield use
  • Social distancing guidelines
  • Face mask and personal protective equipment requirements

And many others. You can view more about our current safety policy and expectations here.

Remember to stay informed via Noon News and The Loop’s COVID-19 hub on any upcoming changes.

Stay the course for safety.

In the meantime, it’s important to continue to follow our guidelines, aligned with the CDC’s safety measures. Wear a face mask (at work and out in public), practice social distancing, clean your hands often, and avoid gatherings.