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Hospital: ‘Screening temperature checks’

As of Wednesday morning, Warren General Hospital has no new cases of COVID-19 to report.

So far, only one person tested at the hospital has returned a positive result. Hospital officials have said that patient left the county and is under care elsewhere.

According to Director of Business Development and Marketing George Lilja, the hospital has conducted 124 tests and has received 60 negative results.

The tests go to Pittsburgh for evaluation and results are generally returned in two days.

The hospital is not testing everyone. In fact, it is not testing everyone who comes in with a doctor’s order for a test.

“Our number of COVID-19 testing kits remains low,” Lilja said. “Access to testing requires strict criteria be met and a provider order.”

Due to the number of people reporting symptoms and the number of tests available, hospital personnel have said only those with severe symptoms that align with COVID-19 are being treated.

The hospital began furloughing personnel last week.

“Due to volume and revenue decreases — patient self-cancellation and state mandated delay in all outpatient and elective procedures — we have furloughed 72 Warren General Hospital and Warren Medical Group staff members,” Lilja said. “We anticipate that this temporary action will only last through April 25.”

The employees who remain have been asked to cancel vacation and time off through May.

The pandemic has led to extensive use of personal protective equipment, and accompanying shortages of that equipment.

“Our supply of PPE — N95 masks , gowns , face shields and gloves — remains very low,” Lilja said.

Employees are not required, nor recommended, to wear masks at all times.

The hospital is “not recommending that all staff wear masks — N95, surgical or homemade,” Lilja said. “Masks are only required to be worn when you have symptoms or have been required by your physician or human resources.”

There are some new steps the hospital and the medical group have taken in response to the pandemic, the furloughs, and the volume of patients.

“Screening temperature checks will begin Friday, April 3,” Lilja said. “The emergency room isolation tent will be operational by Friday, April 3 — or when volume and needs dictate.”

“Warren Medical Group has consolidated physician offices due to volume,” he said. “Warren Medical Group and advanced practice practitioners are now using tele-visits to help keep patients out of the office and hospital.”

Other measures previously instituted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in place.

The no-visitor policy applies to patients in all departments except maternity and pediatrics, and end-of-life situations.

Access to the building is only possible through the main entrance — F, emergency — E, and the B entrance along Crescent Park.

Services and visits are limited to situations that are urgent or emergent.

Those with questions about COVID-19 or policies and situations at Warren General may call the hospital’s COVID-19 information line at 723-3319 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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