FCMH sees increase in patients seeking COVID tests


By Ryan Carter - rcarter@recordherald.com



With the significant spike in local COVID-19 cases recently, Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) has in turn experienced an increase in the number of patients who come to FCMH for testing.

As of Monday, FCMH has completed 5,826 COVID tests, according to information provided by Whitney Gentry, leader of business development at FCMH. The increase in patients seeking tests has resulted in some COVID patients currently at FCMH.

“Early on, back in March, we did not see any inpatient volume related to COVID, but in the last couple of months we have had COVID positive inpatients,” said Gentry. “The most we’ve had at one time is three, and our staff is able to comfortably handle that volume. Our leaders and management continue to monitor patient volumes and supplies. From a supply standpoint, we are adequately equipped at this time and conduct weekly counts to ensure proper supplies are maintained.”

Gentry added that the FCMH staff is doing “an exceptional job of dealing with the pressures at home and work around the heightened sense of awareness due to COVID. FCMH personnel continue to observe the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and our infection control manager regularly distributes updates and reminders when there is a change in policy or procedure. We are still taking temperatures and doing health screenings on both staff and patients that enter the facility.”

Staff members who exhibit any COVID-related symptoms are evaluated by FCMH Employee Health and are tested for COVID.

“The majority of our meetings continue to be held virtually and all staff are required to wear masks unless they are socially distanced and working at their desk,” said Gentry. “It is critically important that we do all we can to prevent the spread of this virus, not only among our patients, but to our critical healthcare workers who are providing care to the community.”

Patients who come to FCMH’s Same Day Care office and have COVID-related symptoms will be taken immediately to a designated exam room. By doing this it reduces other patients’ exposures and it contains extra-cleaning efforts to those specific rooms, according to Gentry.

In the emergency room, patients with COVID-related symptoms are put in the private rooms first. All patients are asked to wear a mask and FCMH officials say they take every effort to observe social distancing in the space provided.

“Services like the curbside lab, pull up pre-admission testing and telehealth visits are still ongoing and have been met with positive reviews and appreciation for the efforts we have made to keep patients safe,” said Gentry. “We have definitely had to think outside the box on some things, but our staff has never failed to respond to the challenge.”

The current visitor policy of one visitor per day for inpatients and one visitor accompanying an emergency department patient remains in place at FCMH. Outpatient services and appointments continue to prohibit visitors, however, officials say everything can be examined on a case-by-case basis around what is best for the patient.

“We know it is frustrating at times, but we greatly appreciate the community’s cooperation and understanding around the visitor policy,” said Gentry. “Our COVID committee — comprised of leaders from the various affected departments — continue to meet regularly to review the policies and take into consideration the current state of the community regarding COVID and will make the necessary adjustments to meet operational requirements and safety standards.”

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.

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By Ryan Carter

rcarter@recordherald.com