As the coronavirus continues to spread across the US, Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) officials say they are continuing to take steps to ensure the safety of patients, staff and the community. FCMH announced Tuesday that it has joined regional and state hospitals in canceling all elective, non-urgent surgeries, effective this Wednesday, March 18.
FCMH is partnering with Adena Health System for community education surrounding COVID-19. Community members with questions and concerns about COVID19 are encouraged to call the Adena Coronavirus Hotline at 740-542-SAFE (7233). The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions and concerns.
Individuals with respiratory issues or symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus are being directed to Medical Arts Building 2. While there are currently no swabbing stations, no appointment is needed for those wishing to see a provider. Patients should call 740-333-3333 prior to arrival weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Depending on the severity of the illness, patients may be examined in their vehicle. Designated parking spaces for this have been reserved between Medical Arts Building 2 and the hospital. On weekends, patients should call 740-335-1210 and follow the same procedure.
Dr. Emily Johnson, Rural Health Center Medical Director, reminds the public however that testing is only being done on patients who need medical intervention or hospitalization.
According to the Ohio Department of Health guidelines, providers will determine if a patient is eligible for COVID-19 testing.
“That decision is based on symptoms, travel history or exposure to a confirmed patient. Those patients who experience difficulty breathing and need to be seen immediately should use the emergency department,” explained Johnson. “In order to preserve our testing kits, those patients who are sick and exhibit signs of the flu or what could be COVID-19 and do not require medical care, are asked to self-isolate at home.”
While the facility is still closed to visitors and all patients are being assessed at entry points, the emergency department and Same Day Care Clinic are still open to community members who need immediate medical care.
Scheduled visits at Medical & Surgical Associates are being evaluated daily and postponed for the patient’s safety when appropriate. Medical & Surgical Associates is preparing to offer home visits to high-risk patients, and provide alternatives to scheduled appointments that include telephone, web portal or telemedicine visits. Patients are encouraged to take advantage of online services by enrolling in the My Health Chart portal for the FCMH Physician Practices portal using the link of the same name at www.fcmh.org.
Other appointments and procedures such as the Coumadin clinic, wound clinic, endoscopy therapy and specialty visits continue as planned at FCMH, but are subject to change, explained FCMH CEO Mike Diener.
“Our caregivers are working diligently to ensure patients with scheduled appointments and procedures may do so without the risk of potential contamination. This is an ever-changing situation and FCMH is going to adapt as needed. At some point, if the risk of contaminating others becomes too great, or we have a high volume of COVID-19 patients who need our attention, we may have to put all nonessential appointments, procedures and tests on hold. Our team is evaluating the situation daily and adjusting as needed.”