New rules in place for hospital visitors

Allen County Regional Hospital puts in place new rules for visitors, because of the growing coronavirus pandemic. Those who visit must first check in and answer a series of health-related questions.

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Local News

March 16, 2020 - 10:15 AM

Signs directing Allen County Regional Hospital visitors to check themselves have been placed at the ACRH entrance. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Visitors to Allen County Regional Hospital will need to check themselves before they enter the facility, an early precaution to keep visitors from spreading illness to others and hospital staff amid concerns about a deadly new coronavirus.

Beginning today, ACRH will limit access to the hospital by offering only the main public entrance plus the emergency room entrance. The hospital is also suspending its auxiliary service, since most volunteers are senior citizens who are most at risk from complications of COVID-19. Those volunteers staff the information desk, gift shop and other capacities.

ACRH asks visitors to stop at the entrance and answer three questions: 

— Have you had a fever and signs of respiratory illness like a cough and shortness of breath?

— Have you had close contact in the past 14 days with someone confirmed by a laboratory test to have COVID-19?

— Have you had a fever or signs of respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath) and a history of travel in affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset?

If you are there as a visitor and answer yes to any question, do not enter the hospital. If the visit is urgent, contact the emergency department for help.

If you are there as a patient and answer yes, proceed to the registration office, ask for a mask and inform staff of symptoms.

If you answer no, you can enter the hospital and follow all standard policies and restrictions.

Other area hospitals are taking more strict precautions, such as Neosho County Memorial Hospital where entrance is limited to one entrance and taking temperatures of everyone who enters the building.

THE HOSPITAL also is evaluating community meetings and events scheduled at the facility, after the CDC recommended Sunday to cancel or postpone gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

Hospital administrators continue to meet and discuss the situation, ACRH communications director Traci Plumlee said. Staff, including nurses, feel confident they can handle an influx of patients but are more concerned about outside issues like if schools and businesses are closed, she said.

“This is exactly what we’ve trained for. We know we have to be at work to care for those patients,” she said.

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