Hospital Starts Screening Patients and Visitors for COVID-19
Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
Virus Precautions: On March 17, 2020, Mercy Health/Love County
Hospital and Clinic began screening all arriving patients and visitors for
symptoms or exposure to the coronavirus, COVID-19. Above: Carolyn
Gordon answered questions from Laura Beck, CNA and Curtis
Hembree, CNA. She accepted a mask and applied hand sanitizer that
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital in Marietta stepped up its onsite response to COVID-19 virus Tuesday. Hospital CEO/Administrator Richard Barker announced several temporary measures to lessen the risk of person to person spread of the contagious illness and help keep the institution operating fully.
Patients who think they are ill with COVID-19 virus are asked to call the State Health Department Hotline, 877-215-8336, to discuss their symptoms and receive advice on whether in-person medical care is needed. Most respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, will cause only minor illness and can be cared for at home, according to health research.
Barker asked that patients who have viral symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath call their primary care provider or the hospital before traveling to Mercy Health/Love County. The hospital main number (580) 276-3347 is taking these calls 24 hours a day. “We will guide you on what to do and where to go,” Barker said.
All departments of the hospital and the clinic are open. “It’s business as usual at the clinic,” said director Connie Barker. “Patients with appointments and patients with illnesses unrelated to the coronavirus are being seen.”
All patients and visitors are being screened first in the hospital lobby. Medical personnel are taking temperatures and inquiring about recent travel history and symptoms. Those who have traveled to any heavily affected areas and have symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath will be separated and cared for in the emergency room apart from other patients.
Testing for COVID-19 is based on symptoms and at the discretion of primary care providers in the clinic and emergency room. “If COVID-19 is suspected, patients will undergo nose and throat swabs and the specimens sent to a laboratory for testing. Results may take two to four days. Patients will be required to home quarantine during this time,” Barker said.
Hospital visiting hours are now limited to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Visitors will be screened and must be without fever and free of respiratory symptoms. Flower deliveries are still accepted.
As screening got underway Tuesday, the hospital’s quality control director Megan Stephens, RN, expressed appreciation. “We want to thank the community for their response. They are eager to cooperate with our screening. They understand about limiting person to person spread of COVID-19.”
State and National information sources about COVID-19 are Oklahoma Health Department Call Center at 877-215-8336 or coronavirus.gov website. The local information and referral source is Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic at 580-276-3347.