Helping Keep You and Our Community Safe
At St Mary's Regional Medical Center, patient safety is always our top priority. Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the extraordinary measures we are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep patients, physicians, staff and the community safe.
Q: What steps has the hospital taken to help ensure the ongoing health and safety of patients, physicians, staff and the community?
In light of COVID-19, we are following the guidelines of the State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our local Infection Control and Prevention Team. We have implemented extra precautionary measures and additional protocols to help ensure a safe and clean environment for our patients, physicians, staff and community, including, but not limited to:
- Isolation of patients with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
- COVID-19 testing of patients prior to elective surgery
- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff
- Temperature checks for anyone entering the facility
- Screening questions upon entrance
- Limited visitation for all inpatient areas, the emergency room (ER) and outpatient surgery
- Rigorous cleaning and disinfection
- UV light disinfection
Q: What does limited visitation mean?
Consistent with city and county efforts around social distancing to limit the exposure to individuals who may have contracted COVID-19, but are at that time asymptomatic, we have revised our Visitation Policies to help protect our patients and our community. During this unprecedented time, visitation is limited in the inpatient units of the main hospital. Limited visitation is permitted in the ER, for outpatient surgery, in compassionate care/end-of-life situations and for maternity/neonatal patients. In these cases, visitors will be limited to a specific room only and must wear a mask, which they are asked to bring with them. Again, this temporary policy is in force to help keep everyone safe.
Q: Is it safe to go to the ER when experiencing a medical emergency?
Yes. As mentioned above, the hospital has taken extra measures to help keep everyone safe, including the separation and isolation of patients suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19. During this time, physicians, nurses and staff are delivering trusted quality emergent care every hour, every day. Seeking critical emergency care can be life-saving. If a person experiences symptoms such as chest pain, numbness, difficulty breathing or mental confusion or has serious medical injuries, they (or someone else if present) must call 911 or go to the nearest ER — it could save a life.
Q: Can a person seeking emergency care in the ER or coming to the hospital for an outpatient surgery, procedure or testing be accompanied by a family member or friend?
At this time, a person seeking care in the ER may be accompanied by one visitor. The visitor must enter the ER with the individual seeking care at the time of arrival, both wearing a mask. A visitor must stay in the specific room/bay assigned to the patient until discharge.
For those coming to the hospital for an outpatient surgery, procedure or testing, our current visitation policy permits one visitor to accompany the patient. Both patient and visitor must wear a mask upon arrival and screen negative prior to entering the hospital.
Again, these measures have been taken to help ensure everyone's safety.
Q: When should an individual suspected with or confirmed positive for COVID-19 go to the ER?
Individuals with mild or moderate symptoms are advised to call their healthcare provider or to visit an urgent care center. If symptoms intensify and cannot be managed at home, individuals should call 911 or go to the nearest ER.
Q: What should a person and visitor expect upon arrival to St. Mary's Regional Medical Center?
Upon arrival at the hospital, visitors are subject to temperature check and screening.
Any individual who has been in contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days; or who has had a cough or flu-like symptoms, including sore throat, headache, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain; loss of taste or smell in the last 24 hours; felt feverish or experienced chills in the last 48 hours; or had a fever of 100°F or higher in the last 48 hours, will be prohibited from entering the hospital.
Travel history will be queried: those who have had travel outside the country within the last 14 days will not be permitted to proceed within the hospital.
Anyone suspected with or confirmed positive for COVID-19 will be separated and isolated.
These steps will help prohibit people with symptoms or risk factors from entering the building.
Q: If a patient is required to have a pre-operative clearance visit and pre-admission testing, are virtual options available?
Virtual visits are not available for pre-operative clearance. However, patients who do not require pre-admission testing will be screened by phone. For information about pre-admission testing including scheduled hours and laboratory options, please contact your primary care physician's office directly.
Q: How far in advance should a patient schedule pre-operative testing?
We recommend patients plan ahead to ensure all pre-operative testing requirements are completed prior to surgery. The physician’s office will provide you with your pre-operative testing date. If you need to cancel or make changes to the date, please contact your physician's office.
Q: If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 during pre-admission testing, how will their surgery be affected?
Patients testing positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days. The hospital will re-test the patient prior to scheduling a new surgery date.
Q: With visitation limited, how can patients connect with loved ones before and after surgery?
Patients can utilize virtual options such as phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and other communications on their mobile device before and after surgery.
Q: What is the hospital doing to help ensure appropriate social distancing?
The hospital has marked 6-foot distances within the common areas of the hospital. Everyone is asked to adhere to social distancing etiquette.
Q: When did elective (non-essential) surgeries and procedures resume at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center?
The hospital resumed elective cases on April 24, 2020.