CIRCLEVILLE — OhioHealth has implemented visitor restrictions at all locations, including OhioHealth Berger Hospital.
Teratia Welch, marketing and communications manager with OhioHealth Berger, said emergency departments across Ohio Health are receiving a lot of calls requesting COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, testing including testing to be able to return to work.
“This influx of calls is overloading the emergency departments and hampering their ability to treat and coordinate care for sick patients who need immediate care,” Welch said. “Hospital emergency departments are not able to provide on-demand testing or testing for return to work. Only those patients who are sick enough to be hospitalized are currently being tested at the hospital.”
Welch said if an individual is severely ill, calling and coming to the ED is appropriate and that all others are encouraged to contact their primary care physicians or call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634.
“OhioHealth is committed to providing a safe environment for patients, associates and physicians,” she said. “We are consistently reassessing the evolving situation, working closely with our public health partners and revising our internal action plans as necessary.”
In addition to that, OhioHealth outlined guidelines in a press release that went into effect at 7 a.m. Monday morning.
• Visitors must be 18 years or older
• Patients will be limited to one visitor at a time, up to two visitors per day, in most areas of the hospital
• Maternity patients will be limited to one support person during their entire length of stay
• In-person Behavioral Health visits will no longer be permitted due to the common space these require
• Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Overnight visits will not be permitted with the exception of end-of-life situations
• We will make limited exceptions for end-of-life patients and for those with disabilities who need assistance.
Visitors to all OhioHealth hospitals, outpatient care centers and physician offices will also be screened and will not be granted entrance if any of the following applies:
• Exhibiting flu-like symptoms
• Fever within the past 24 hours
• Cough or shortness of breath within the past 14 days
• Contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient within the past 14 days
• International travel within the past 14 days
What OhioHealth is doing to prepare for COVID-19:
OhioHealth has been planning, meeting and working to prepare to safely treat COVID-19 patients at all of our care sites. We have taken many proactive steps including:
• Screening all patients and visitors entering our hospitals and limiting access for those who have signs, symptoms, travel history or contact with COVID-19.
• Implementing protocols for treating suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
• Providing an alert system in our electronic medical record system to flag any patients who meet symptom and travel criteria.
• Activating the OhioHealth Emergency Clinical Response Team (ECRT) to serve as first responders. This well-trained expert team have been tasked with the safe care of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients.
• Having an infection prevention specialist on-call 24/7 to immediately respond to any situation.
• Confirming that OhioHealth has a significant level of emergency supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
• Updating contingency plans to prepare for different levels of the outbreak.