Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | July 10, 2020

U.S. Health Officials Visit to Learn About COVID-19 Response

The nation’s No. 2 public health official visited Duke Raleigh Hospital July 9 to learn about our COVID-19 response efforts.

Eric Hargan, the deputy secretary of Department of Health and Human Services, spent the afternoon with hospital leadership to hear about new processes we have implemented to ensure the safety and well-being of our community during our COVID-19 response. In the fourth months of our COVID-19 response, Duke Raleigh Hospital—and other Duke Health hospitals and clinics—have implemented processes for extra safety precautions that include symptom screenings at all facilities, enhanced cleaning, and more telehealth options to keep our community safe and help to protect everyone from the spread of infection.

“We recognize that delaying needed medical care because of concerns about COVID-19 can have long-term consequences on the health of those in our community,” said Leigh Bleecker, interim president of Duke Raleigh Hospital. “That’s why we have made several changes to ensure the safety our patients, their loved ones, and our team during the pandemic.”

During his visit, Hargan and his team members William Brady, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary; April Weaver, HHS Region 4 Director; and Ken Callahan, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary, toured our Intensive Care Unit and heard about our participation in a national clinical trial to investigate a therapy to treat symptoms of COVID-19 and our use of a robot called JaMMeR to augment face-to-face patient care while our ICU case manager works remotely during the COVID-19 response.

Hargan and his team also visited the medical office building where Duke Raleigh Hospital reprocesses N95 masks. To deal with a critical shortage of N95 respirator masks across the country, Duke Raleigh Hospital teams, and others across Duke Health, are using vaporized hydrogen peroxide methods to decontaminate these masks so they can be reused. This FDA approved process uses specialized equipment to vaporize hydrogen peroxide, which permeates the layers of the mask to kill germs, including viruses, without degrading the mask material. 

Duke Raleigh Hospital was one of several stops for Hargan and his team during a visit to Wake County.

–By Erin McKenzie

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