(KAIT) - As the coronavirus continues to spread globally, local hospitals are working to keep everyone safe.
Arkansas Methodist Medical Center
Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould announced it will not accept visitors into the medical center beginning at noon Monday, March 23.
- The hospital cited limited exceptions to this rule, and will allow one visitor for the following:
- Pediatric patients (17 years or younger)
- Critical patients
- End-of-life patients
- Other rare situations
If a visitor is approved for any of these reasons, they must be screened and wear a mask at all times.
The AMMC entrance is open Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Those experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms should call their healthcare provider. For all other questions, call the AMMC hotline at 870-573-4223.
NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital
NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital began preparing the staff weeks ago when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first alerted the coronavirus.
Baptist Chief Medical Officer Dr. Henry Sullivant and System Director of Infection Prevention and Quality Marianne Ivie states the hospital enacted extra steps to protect nurses and patients from spreading the virus:
- Asking all patients screening questions to determine if they are at risk for coronavirus. If they answer yes to any question, immediate isolation
- Electronic health record links directly to the CDC’s travel alert system, which helps screen for all emerging infectious diseases, including coronavirus
- Daily meetings in our hospitals and on the system level, and we have a weekly meeting with all our facilities to make sure our plans are aligned
- We have PPE (personal protective equipment), and we’re conducting refresher training with our staff on how to use it
- We have more than 100 negative pressure rooms systemwide to move them into one of these rooms to contain their illness
- Signage in all our hospitals and physician offices asking patients to tell a staff member immediately if they have flu-like symptoms
- We ask patients to put on a mask immediately if they have flu-like symptoms to help prevent the spread of illnesses
Director of Marketing Ty Jones said the hospital is prepared.
“You have to be ready,” Jones said. “You have to make it to where you don’t need to think in that situation, you react just like you were trained. The biggest thing we can tell everybody is wash your hands.”
NEA Baptist also implemented the following visitor guidelines:
- Visitors must be 18+ years of age
- 1 visitor
- Outpatient surgery/procedure patients (for transportation needs only)
- Labor and Delivery patient
- Patients with caregiver needing training before discharge
- 2 visitors
- minor patients may have to parents or legal guardians
- Limited visitors
- Patients at end-of-life may have a limited number of visitors
All visitors must screen negative based on travel, have no symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath), and have no contact with a known suspected COVID-19 patient.
NEA Baptist also said for the protection of patients, family members, and medical staff, no visitors will be allowed in rooms of patients with pending or positive COVID-19 tests.
St. Bernards Medical Center
Vice President of Medical Affairs for St. Bernards Medical Center Dr. Kasey Holder says their system is taking measures to keep staff safe, as well.
"St. Bernards has a dedicated emergency response team implementing a specific plan to prepare for a potential influx of patients with COVID-19. Procedures are in place to facilitate early identification of patients at risk for COVID-19 so they can receive prompt treatment and quickly be isolated from other patients and visitors to reduce the risk of transmission. We are communicating regularly with the Arkansas Department of Health and staying up-to-date with Centers for Disease Control alerts and recommendations to ensure we are prepared to provide the safest environment for our patients and healthcare providers. As with other respiratory infections like COVID-19, the best way to protect yourself and those around you from illness is to practice good hygiene—wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, avoid close contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.”
St. Bernards Healthcare also posted information on social media Friday about the issue.
White River Health System
The White River Health System is implementing daily temperature screening for all visitors and employees beginning March 4 due to not only the global concern of the coronavirus but also an increase due to the flu.
The health system said the protocol is consistent with recommendations from the CDC and actions from other health facilities in Arkansas.
At White River Medical Center, visitors will be directed to the east, north, and west entrances.
Patients will only be allowed two visitors at a time from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also visitors but be over 15-years-old.