Local hospitals implement new visitor guidelines

Published 5:35 pm Thursday, March 12, 2020

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Local hospitals have implemented new guidelines for visitors in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

“Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments,” said Merrill South, spokesperson for Andalusia Health.

The hospital has implemented the following guidelines.

Those who have fever, cough, sore throat or other flu-like symptoms are not permitted to visit unless they are seeking care.

People who have traveled to a high-risk area for COVID-19 or had contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 are not permitted to visit.

South said that the hospital is taking these steps as these steps as an abundance of caution.

In the event of an outbreak locally, Andalusia Health is licensed for 88 beds.

In Opp, Mizell Memorial Hospital is also urging those with cold, cough or a respiratory illness not to visit hospitalized patients or accompany patients to visits.

MMH has placed the following restrictions:

• Children under the age of 16 will not be permitted to visit hospitalized patients;

• Patients will be limited to two visitors at a time;

• Anyone with flu-like symptoms – whether they are a patient or a visitor who absolutely needs to come – must wear a mask while they are at any Mizell facilities including clinics.

• Exceptions to these restrictions can be granted by the patient’s care team in extenuating circumstances. Check with the nursing station or clinical staff before visiting a patient room or entering a patient care area to request an exception.

According to guidelines provided by Mizell, hospital staff will work to identify visitors and patients at risk for having COVID-19 infection upon arrival.

Individuals with suspected COVID-19 will then be cared for according to protocol.

For patients, the hospital asks that if you have symptoms and answer yes to any of the following questions, that you call your doctor before you go:

• Do you have a fever greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees?

• Do you have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as cough or sore throat?

• Have you traveled within the last 14 days to an affected geographic area?

• Have you been in contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19?

As of press time, there were no known cases of coronavirus in Alabama.

MMH encourages locals to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs, get a flu shot, if you have not already done so, stay at home if you are sick, including keeping your children home if they are sick.

They also suggest calling your healthcare provider if you develop flu-like symptoms.

Andalusia Manor is asking that visitors who are not sponsors of their residents to refrain from visiting at this time.

Additionally, visiting hours are only during the weekdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.