Rush University Medical Center is uniquely prepared to treat patients during an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In fact, when Rush University Medical Center opened the Rush Tower in 2012 it became the first Chicago area hospital specifically designed to provide treatment for an outbreak of an infectious disease.
Facilities Treating COVID-19 at Rush
Unique features of the Rush Tower that are helpful with handling the COVID-19 outbreak include:
- The Rush Tower has 40 negative pressure rooms, among the highest in Chicago. These assets are critical because it means that when the door to the room opens, air from the hall moves into the room, not from the room to the hall. This helps contain any infectious particles in the air in that room.
- The Rush Emergency Department is divided into three 20-bed units — each of which can be isolated with separate air handling. Every ED bed is in its own room with a door, which isolates the patient more than a curtain divider.
- The Emergency Department has an entry bay for ambulances that is covered and can be arrayed to further isolate infected patients who are entering for evaluation and treatment.
- The Emergency Department can be rapidly converted to enable high-volume screening. Phase 1 of the preparedness plan has already been implemented, with rapid triage and screening of potential coronavirus patients in ambulance bays. It can expand to increase throughput to see an additional 100 patients a day (in addition to their usual volume).
- Rush is ready to initiate the next phase of the plan — in two hours, we can convert a wing of the hospital into a negative pressure ward to accommodate more patients. This will increase our isolation room capacity by 32, bringing total capacity to 72 beds, which can all be used for COVID-19 patient treatment.
COVID-19 Testing at Rush
Rush offers testing to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. Schedule an appointment online or request an on-demand video visit, available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. You don’t need to be an established patient or be “in-network” to be tested. Priority testing is offered to first-responders.
On-demand care: Rush has fully leveraged and expanded its existing Rush On Demand virtual care platform program to drive patients to virtual care options. Rush On Demand offers E-visits and on-demand video visits as care from home options available in as little as 20 minutes. In quickly standing up a COVID-19 on-demand video visit option, Rush has been able to remotely assess, triage and counsel patients with COVID-19 concerns. When applicable, patients are referred to Rush for testing and given instructions about how to arrive safely and reduce contagion. Through the on-demand platform, Rush continues to support a growing number of patients with other symptoms or concerns including cough/cold/flu, sinusitis, red eye and more.
Scheduled video visits: As community spread of COVID-19 took hold, we began offering video as another option for patients with scheduled visits. A bulk training plan was deployed to get as many available providers trained and equipped, and specific patients are being solicited about having their visit performed remotely, if appropriate. This is being done across specialties at the provider’s discretion, with an emphasis on immune-compromised patients.
For a more detailed account of Rush’s COVID-19 preparedness and response, click here.