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Who does not remember the scenes and stories? Hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19. Patients in beds and chairs in hallways, bodies piling up downstairs and in cold-storage vans outside, overworked staff dropping out sick and even dying from virus exposure and unsustainable hours at work. Short on masks, short on respirators, short on gloves.

The first weeks of March 2020 will be known as the time hospitals, especially in major metropolitan areas, resembled mobile triage units or scenes from worst-case post-disaster movies. These scenes flooded our senses. Seemed unreal. But real they were. Like a living nightmare.

Now, after the top of the curve, as we make our way toward reopening our lives and businesses, we are preparing to face life after virus.

And there is a looming problem.

Describing the problem, Johnese Spisso, the president of the University of California Los Angeles' health system and the CEO of the UCLA Hospital System recently said in an interview with Yahoo Finance, "What we learned is the public was very frightened of hospitals and clinics," Ms. Spisso said. "We had to do a lot of outreach education. We worked together as a hospital community in Los Angeles to educate the public and to tell them it's time to come back for the healthcare they have put on pause."

She went on to say, that as a tertiary medical center, UCLA Health had been especially concerned about reductions in emergency department visits for heart attacks and strokes. In fact, a recent study from TransUnion Healthcare found nationwide, ED (emergency department) visits are still down 40 percent and inpatient visits are down 20 percent compared to pre-COVID-19 volumes.

Ms. Spisso went on to say, "We know COVID did nothing to cure those, so we were very concerned people weren't presenting for the care that's needed. We very quickly began to see that as we opened back up, who really should have been coming in a lot sooner," she told Yahoo Finance.

To address these concerns, UCLA Health joined five other health systems in the greater Los Angeles area on an educational/public service campaign to encourage patients to seek important medical care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign declares, "Life may be on pause. Your health isn't."

Impact on Hospitals Nationwide

The public is afraid to go to the hospitals or clinics, and this is affecting the health care industry. As an example, Baylor Scott & White Health, a nonprofit health system based in Dallas, is laying off about 1,200 employees, nearly 3 percent of its workforce, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Like other health systems across the nation, Baylor Scott & White is facing financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system spent $85 million to prepare and respond to the pandemic, and at the same time, it also saw a significant drop in patient volumes.

"We experienced a dramatic drop in patient volumes — between 50 and 90 percent, depending upon where they sought care," CEO Jim Hinton told employees in a video message, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Those affected by the layoffs will be told this week and paid through June 7, a spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News.

In addition to the layoffs, Baylor Scott & White is furloughing an unspecified number of employees, leaving some open positions unfilled and cutting the pay of about 300 senior leaders, according to the report.

Baylor Scott & White is one of more than 260 hospitals and health systems across the nation to furlough or lay off employees in recent months.

Patients must come back. Patients must regain their trust in our health care system. How will that be accomplished?

Solutions to the COVID Paralysis

Telling the public about action taken by healthcare systems and more importantly individual hospitals will be an important step in helping calm their fears. Along with telling their story, hospitals must take definitive, recognizable action to mitigate the damage and calm the nerves of their patient base. The theme must be, “Come back, its safe. No need to fear us”.

Here are just some of the necessary steps now needed:

  • There have been unending stories about lack of masks, gloves, and respirators, now we need to hear those troubles are past.
  • There have been horrifying stories of death and infection inside the walls of well-known and trusted hospitals, now we need to see evidence the trouble has passed by. The professionals are in control.
  • When family members or we ourselves visit our local hospital, they and we need to see with our own eyes’ precautions in place. Screens and shields installed at contact points. Masks worn by hospital personnel as well as visitors.

In other words, action, action, and more action. It is show-and-tell time.

A note to hospital administrators: We are your voice, your advocates. We the public want and need your services. We will speak to our family, friends, and coworkers about the steps you are taking to protect your staff and your public. Give us the tools we need to defend you. Please!

Jan Wade - National Account Manager for WorkSpace SHIELD™


With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic A&I Manufacturing created the new product “Workspace SHIELD™”. In wanting to contribute to a safer work environment in our community the Workspace SHIELD™ provides protection against the spreading of droplets from sneezing and coughing thus protecting the worker behind the clear PVC shield.

A& I has been manufacturing window coverings for nearly 30 years in the tristate area, employing over 150 workers. A request was asked by a client for a protective barrier to ensure safer work area.

Using the standard automated roller shade and switching to a Clear PVC fabric, the result was immediately apparent. A see through shield that allows the worker to feel safe while interacting with customers.

One happy Client stated: “It’s hard to put a price tag on one person, but if it saves one life it’s worth the investment.” Another interested dealer reached out to us and stated: I'm a window treatment business in northern California, and I am interested in vending your product. Looks like a FABULOUS Idea, and would fit in well with our program, and we really see a need for this.

WorkSpace SHIELD™ is attracting interest from all corners of the country.

Can You Say – FREEDOM?

By Jan Wade


Forgive me. I am passionate about workspace safety. I have given my heart to the topic of how to work in human clusters without harming one another*. I spent two decades in the health care industry advocating for patient safety and patient autonomy. We need to bring our lives back, find the new normal, don’t you agree? We can do it. We built the Space Shuttle. We went to the Moon and back. We will go back to work and stay safe. How? By using our brains and ingenuity.

We have been encouraged to, and I hope complied with, governmental direction to wear masks, gloves and to observe social distancing. It is for our own good. We use these tools when appropriate. Sometimes we have a choice, for example, should we wear a mask when driving alone or with a member of our family? On the other hand, at this time, we would likely wear one riding with a co-worker. The same reasoning informs our behavior at work. Right? We have freedom within boundaries.

We wear gloves when appropriate. We wear an N-95 when needed. We respect social distancing all the time. With that in mind, I have an idea. What if we could remove the mask along with social distancing and remain safe?

I am about to become very enthusiastic!

I found a way to stay safe at work without wearing a mask, at least at encounter points like counters or at your personal workspace. This way also allows you to safely be with another person inside the ‘six foot zone’.

WorkSpace SHIELD™ places a thin, durable, transparent, sheet of plastic between you and the other person. Not only that, it is retractable. That means it rolls up into a ceiling mounted canaster when you need it out of the way, for example, for the cleaners or when you are working alone. You can also lift it a few inches to pass papers or products to your customer.

WorkSpace SHIELD™ uses tried and true commercial retractable window shade technology. It operates using a durable motor powered by lithium batteries. You can use the provided remote control or your smart phone to activate it. You can also set a timer, to automatically raise and lower at specified times.

I told you I found this product, but this sounds like a sales pitch, right? Well, yes and yes. I went to work for DE-EL Enterprises Inc. on the 5th of May 2020 just a week after hearing about this product. When the company owner told me about WorkSpace SHIELD™, I let him know I wanted to come out of lock down to help him tell the world about it.

What do you think? Isn’t WorkSpace SHIELD™ a great idea? I agree.

Jan Wade - National Account Manager for WorkSpace SHIELD™