HURON — Huron Regional Medical Center is actively working with the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Beadle County Unified COVID-19 Task Force to stay prepared to manage coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
HRMC has activated an Incident Command system with leaders meeting twice daily to assess priorities and make plans to ensure patients, staff, visitors and the community are cared for in a safe manner. The following are some of the changes implemented this week.
Visitor Restrictions Updated
In addition to the current visitor restrictions, which call for visitors to be over the age of 12, in good health, and free of any recent respiratory or stomach flu symptoms, updated restrictions include:
• Limiting visitors to only one immediate family member per patient for the entire patient stay,
• Screening family members for signs of respiratory illness including fever and cough and recent travel, and
• Designating visitor entry doors to the main lobby and emergency room entrances.
Instead of visiting someone in person, friends and family are encouraged to call or FaceTime.
Another option is to send an ecard from the hospital website at www.huronregional.org.
Traffic Control Measures
As a measure of protection, HRMC is limiting entrances and screening all who enter for symptoms. For ease in directing visitors and patients, large vinyl numbers are on the doors as indicated below.
• Door No. 1 ER Entrance – This entrance is available 24 hours a day, but patients are asked to call before arriving with suspected COVID-19 symptoms. All persons entering the emergency room entrance will stop at the security office window and be screened. Emergency room patients will be triaged.
• Door No. 2 Main Lobby Entrance – Scheduled patients and visitors should use this entrance, which is unlocked Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Staff are posted just inside the door to direct and screen patients and visitors.
• Door No. 3 South Surgery Entrance – This entrance is restricted to outpatient treatment patients and HRMC employees.
• Door No. 4 Central Towers Entrance – Dialysis, wound care and Specialty Clinic patients should enter through this door, which is unlocked Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 5:30 a.m. to noon (may lock earlier depending on patient flow). Staff are posted at the volunteer desk to direct and screen patients.
Elective Appointments Deferred
In cooperation with the medical staff, HRMC has decided to temporarily defer elective clinic visits, tests, treatments and surgeries amid concerns over coronavius response. Each department is working with medical providers to determine the extent of deferral and the plan is being reevaluated regularly.
Patients scheduled for appointments or procedures will be contacted directly. Medical providers are working to balance patient safety and quality while conserving protective equipment like gowns and masks and reduce any potential spread of the virus.
Providers will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the continued care of those who are ill and in need of diagnostic and treatment services.
The decision comes as hospitals across the country ramp up for an expected wave of coronavirus patients. Last week, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the American College of Surgeons recommended that hospitals consider canceling elective surgeries.
Doing so would free up hospital capacity and reduce the likelihood of transmitting the disease.
What You Should Do If You Experience Symptoms
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can be spread from person-to-person. People with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.
If you feel you might have COVID-19, it’s important to call your healthcare provider first rather than going directly to the clinic or other healthcare facility in order to protect other patients and staff. When you call, healthcare professionals will determine if you need testing.
Up-to-date information about the COVID-19 illness is available on HRMC’s website at www.huronregional.org/COVID-19. If you have additional questions, please call the HRMC COVID-19 call center at 353-6214, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If a representative is not readily available, callers should leave a message, which call center staff will return.
Signs are posted at the hospital to alert visitors of the updated restrictions and designated visitor entrances with staff available to assist patients and visitors and provide screening.
HRMC appreciates the support of the community in helping to protect our patients, visitors and staff and reducing the spread of this illness. The most important things community members can do is practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly with warm soapy water and practicing social distancing.