Effective Friday, March 13, Reid Health is greatly restricting visitors at all of its facilities as part of multiple steps being taken to decrease risks to patients and caregivers from the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus.
“Our sacred mission is to care for everyone, no matter their need. We must do everything we can to reduce the potential impact of this new virus on behalf of the patients who entrust us with their lives every day,” said Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO. “We also have to protect our caregivers. Should this virus affect our staff, we could quickly be overwhelmed by a shortage of staff to care for an increased number of patients.”
The steps include:
A “no visitor” policy with exceptions for certain situations such as end of life, the Family Birthing Center, Emergency Department, or surgery
Staff at the entrances of the hospital campus and physician offices asking screening questions of everyone before they enter
When appropriate, having people return to their cars for phone triage if COVID-19 risk is determined
Asking anyone with potential COVID-19 exposure to call ahead before going to any physician office, urgent care or emergency room
Encouraging anyone who has an appointment at a Reid facility to arrive extra early for the verbal screening process
The steps were determined this week and could be adjusted based on the changing national situation with COVID-19. A task force has been evaluating and making plans based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) recommendations for handling COVID-19, including how to protect staff as well as patients.
Kinyon also noted that Reid Health cannot offer testing for the virus because of limitations from the ISDH. Until more testing capability is available, ISDH only allows testing to confirm the virus in specific cases.
Visitor exceptions may be made for healthy family members or caregivers, who will also be asked screening questions at the door. Generally, only one healthy visitor will be allowed in emergency, surgery and the Family Birthing Center. Exceptions will also be made for end-of-life situations. Others are encouraged to communicate with patients by phone, or other digital tools.
Kinyon said the hospital has been at capacity for several months, so any impact from this new virus could quickly overtax the health system. “We must treat this very seriously,” Kinyon said. “And we are.”
For FAQs and daily updates, visit the ReidHealth Plan, Don’t Panic information page at https://www.reidhealth.org/coronavirus-info