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Hospital screening people entering facility

Photos submitted to Times Observer Hand-wash stations have been placed outside of the entrances to Warren General Hospital.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Warren General Hospital is updating policies.

After announcing the county’s first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, CEO Rick Allen encouraged people to continue doing what they can to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We must work together to abate this virus,” he said. “Warren General Hospital and Warren Medical Group remain committed to serving the medical needs of our community and are prepared to take actions to help abate the COVID-19 virus.”

At the hospital and at home, that starts with frequent and proper hand-washing and social distancing.

There are fewer people going in and out of the hospital on a daily basis, as there are limits on both patients and visitors.

Photos submitted to Times Observer Hand-wash stations have been placed outside of the entrances to Warren General Hospital.

“We are limiting our services and visits to those determined to be urgent and emergent,” Allen said.

The hospital’s no-visitor policy remains in effect — with exceptions being in maternity, pediatrics, and end of life care situations. In each of those cases, one visitor will be allowed at a time after screening.

The screening process has been beefed up and will include temperature checks of everyone who is entering the hospital — patients, staff, and visitors. Only the E (Emergency Room), F (main entrance near the parking garage), and B (near the east end of the building along Crescent Park) entrances are accessible.

In addition to reducing the chance of exposure, limiting access to patients who do not have urgent nor emergent situations is part of the hospital’s preparations to be able to handle an increased volume of patients.

Another part of that preparation is making sure staff members are available.

“We’re asking all our employees to cancel all their vacation and time off plans as this virus washes through,” Allen said.

In the event that COVID-19 cases, or any situation or combination of situations, result in the hospital not having enough space for patients, the hospital has an existing agreement with Warren State Hospital to provide additional space.

Keeping up with personal protective equipment is a challenge.

“We continue to have very limited supplies of N95 masks, face shields and gowns,” Allen said.

Those supplies were recently bolstered by donations from the community. “We were extraordinarily pleased,” he said, pointing to a donation of 500 masks by Miracle Mountain Ranch in particular among the many organizations and businesses that showed “extraordinary generosity.”

Those with questions about COVID-19 may call the hospital’s COVID-19 information line at 723-3319.

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