St. Luke’s University Health Network will begin elective surgeries and resume certain other related procedures at its Pennsylvania hospitals and facilities on Monday, May 11.
“Our hospitals are safe, and we are ready for you,” said William R. Burfeind, MD, Chairman of Surgery, said in a news release Friday.
Hospital officials said the “stay at home” measures put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus “have proven effective in our community, and St. Luke’s Infectious Disease experts have determined that elective surgeries and associated diagnostic and imaging studies may proceed with certain safeguards.” (Note: The change does not apply to St. Luke’s Warren Campus, which is on a separate timetable for the state of New Jersey.)
Universal masking and social distancing measures will remain in place in hospital offices and patient appointments will continue to be spaced out to reduce the flow of traffic, the health network said.
In the news release it was also announced that several other requirements will be in place to help protect both patients and staff:
- If a surgery requires a hospital stay, the patient will be on a floor with no known COVID-19 patients.
- Nurses and staff taking care of surgery patients will not take care of COVID-19 patients at the same time.
- All patients undergoing surgery will be COVID-19-tested, to help maintain a COVID-19-free surgical environment.
“Our surgeons are looking forward to resuming an expanded array of elective procedures,” Burfeind said. “Our priority is and will always be the safety of our patients.”
Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced Thursday that his stay-at-home order for Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks and the other counties in which St. Luke’s operates facilities had been extended from May 8 to June 4.
On Friday, Wolf said he would allow 13 southwestern Pennsylvania counties to begin to reopen May 15, but that 30 other counties that are shut down would not be considered for a partial return to pre-pandemic life–with restrictions in place for things such as social distancing–until at least June 4.