As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to loom, Carlinville Area Hospital also continues to plan and prepare. The hospital holds daily morning meetings with the COVID-19 task force. The hospital is currently working from their emergency operations plan, which is tested and reviewed on a regular basis through the hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Team.
To date, the hospital has tested 4 patients for the COVID-19 virus, with 3 negative results and one result pending.
In addition to heavy use of social media, the hospital has also built a COVID-19 informational page on their website. The new page can be accessed through the COVID-19 link on the hospital’s homepage. The new informational page is kept up-to-date on a regular basis and should serve as a great resource for the community.
Entrance screening procedures continue to be in place, with all campus visitors/patients entering in through one entrance and being screened by hospital employees. Patients are then assigned a colored sticker to indicate their reason for visit (i.e. outpatient, Emergency, etc.), with anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms triaged to a special respiratory tent set up at the back of the hospital. “An important element to our preparedness is minimizing the risk of exposure in any way we can, as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation and prepare for what the next few weeks may hold”, Carol Labby, Infection Prevention/Employee Health/Education Coordinator
It is important to know that these screening procedures do not mean limiting access to our hospital. CAH stands ready to treat any potential patients and current patients. We have an excellent team of professionals ready to serve your health needs. These precautions help us to ensure we are able to monitor visitor and outpatient access to better protect our patients, medical professionals and hospital staff during this time.
Some services continue to be temporarily limited and/or suspended until further notice (SELF program, rehabilitation, specialty clinic and outpatient surgery). Girard Family Health Care continues to be closed, however, Carlinville Family Health Care, including the new walk-in clinic, continues to remain open for patients. The hospital urges you to call ahead before visiting the clinic if you are exhibiting any COVID-19/upper respiratory symptoms and/or have been in contact with a positive patient or traveled anywhere in the country in the last 14 days.
A common topic in the community is the lack of supplies needed in hospitals for the possible future surge of patients. “If needed, the hospital has the ability to add bed capacity to certain areas, and that it is working to identify other sources of important supplies and equipment to help ensure the continued protection of our staff and patients.”, Ed Smith, Director of Plan Operations.
As several requests have come into the hospital for donations such as Clorox wipes, hand-made masks, etc., the hospital is now accepting these items at the parking lot entrance screening. The hospital will also be happy to pick up any donations provided the location is local. “We cannot thank the community enough for the willingness to help not only our hospital but the entire community during these types of uncertainty and crisis”, Melissa Fernandez, Marketing/Community Outreach Specialist.
Please note, the Emergency Department entrance is to be used for emergencies only. If you suspect you might be infected with the COVID-19 virus, please call your health care provider, if you do not have a provider, please call Macoupin County Public Health at 217-854-3692 and ask for a nurse.
We will continue to keep the public updated on any and all developments related to this fast-paced, ever-changing coronavirus outbreak as we receive them.