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Employee Testing the First Line of Defense against COVID-19

Employee Testing the First Line of Defense against COVID-19

While El Camino Health's most important mission is to "heal, relieve suffering and advance wellness" of the community and its patients, equally important is ensuring that its employees, especially front-line workers, stay healthy in the fight against COVID-19.

A key part of keeping employees healthy is the Employee Testing program, launched in May 2020 soon after the pandemic reached Northern California.

"We first started testing the Emergency Room Department nurses, Surgery, and CCU," said Frances Santiago-Pantaleon, manager, Laboratory and Phlebotomy. "We then rolled it out to other departments, including administrative employees who do not come in contact with patients daily."

As the number of COVID-19 cases increased in our community in 2020, employees were tested on a more frequent basis. Testing frequency also increased at the end of the year, around the holidays, as the number of COVID-19 cases at the hospital increased. Since the program’s inception more than 10,250 tests have been administered to employees, and the lab is doing approximately 150 tests per day at both the Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses. Frances and her team have used different scheduling techniques to ensure wait times are minimal. Employees may now sign up for a test on El Camino Health’s intranet. Swabs used for testing also have to be kept at a specific cool temperature range, and the specimen has to be collected correctly to ensure accuracy.

"It has been great to partner with and support Employee Health to help keep our employees, and patients, safe," said Frances. "Our objective is to get our employees tested as quickly as possible, so they can go back to work where they are needed. We want to keep everyone safe."

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