Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is actively monitoring the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation. As always, protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff remains our top priority. We have implemented safety measures to decrease the possibility of infection. As an essential health care provider, we are equally committed to caring for our patients and keeping our teams safe and healthy.
Today, all of our health centers are open and will continue seeing patients through next week. We are making daily health and safety assessments and will update our plans accordingly. We have strengthened and increased the frequency of our disinfecting and cleaning practices in all health centers and buildings. Our health center staff are also conducting active screening with anyone calling the Patient Access Center or entering a health center or building. Any person with symptoms and relevant travel or contact history for COVID-19 will be asked to reschedule their appointment and staff will help coordinate referring them for potential testing and further guidance. If an individual is physically present at a health center and symptomatic, they will be advised to immediately put on a mask and moved to an isolated area. We are committed to being here for our patients and the communities who rely on us. If at any time it is no longer safe for our staff to care for patients, we will close the health centers.
We have implemented social distancing, a risk mitigation practice that increases social space between coworkers. This practice reduces the number of people in our buildings and provides some protection from infection simply by decreasing social interactions. This is part of PPGC’s effort to “flatten the curve” of infection and allow the health care system to adequately care for sick patients.
Additionally, and out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled or postponed all of our community events through March 31. These events include the March 14 Teen Talk in Houston, March 31 Spring Event in Baton Rouge, and several advocacy and volunteer events in Baton Rouge, Houston, and New Orleans. We are hopeful that this proactive approach will minimize any potential exposure to COVID-19. As with patient care settings, we are meeting regularly to assess the situation and will update our plans accordingly to maintain health and safety.
Please continue to stay safe and follow these simple steps to prevent infection: Wash your hands, disinfect surfaces, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and use hand sanitizer if you aren’t able to wash your hands.
Melaney A. Linton
President & CEO
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast