Tidelands Health taking additional steps to help limit spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in community
With the arrival of COVID-19 coronavirus in the region, Tidelands Health is taking additional precautionary steps to limit the spread of the virus in the community.
The precautions are aligned with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in efforts to prevent exposure and keep more people from contracting the quickly spreading virus.
“It’s crucial that all of us take the recommendations seriously and do our part to limit the spread of coronavirus in our community,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs. “We appreciate the community’s cooperation and understanding as we continue to take precautionary measures to protect our patients, team members and community.”
Among the changes:
Visitor restrictions and limiting foot traffic in the hospitals
Tidelands Health has increased visitor restrictions at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. The restrictions are designed to minimize the risk of exposure for patients and team members by limiting the number of people in the hospitals. These changes include:
- A patient may have one adult visitor in the hospital building at a time. This should be a visitor who helps with care of the patient, not a social visitor. If “switching out,” the next visitor should wait in the parking lot – not inside the hospital.
- Clergy members are considered a visitor.
- All visitors are being screened at the front desk. Beginning Wednesday, March 18, this screening will include a temperature check. Any visitor with a fever or other flu-like symptoms will be required to leave the hospital.
- No one under age 18 or over age 69 may visit.
- No visitors will be allowed in critical-care and stepdown units.
- In the emergency department, adult patients may not be joined by a visitor until the patient has been screened by clinical staff for COVID-19 symptoms and cleared. This process may take up to an hour. ER patients under age 18 may be accompanied by a visitor at all times.
- No visitors will be allowed for adult patients who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results. Pediatric patients may have a visitor with them at all times.
- No visitors will be allowed for adult patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. Pediatric patients may have a visitor with them at all times.
- Tidelands Health encourages visitors to use phone calls or video calls to virtually visit patients in the hospital.
- Exceptions to the visitor policy may be made, at the discretion of clinical staff, when warranted by a patient’s condition.
- Community members are not permitted to use the hospital cafeterias for meals until further notice.
- In-person requests for medical records at Tidelands Waccamaw and Tidelands Georgetown are temporarily suspended. Instructions for accessing records by mail or through the Tidelands Health patient portal are available at tidelandshealth.org.
As previously announced, Tidelands Health is implementing temporary surge strategies at Tidelands Waccamaw and Tidelands Georgetown to optimize the provision of safe, quality patient care. The critical care unit at both hospitals has been expanded to include additional patient rooms that are normally used for general medical-surgical patients. Additional ventilators have been procured for these newly designated CCU rooms.
Vendors in all locations
Effectively immediately, Tidelands Health is restricting all vendor sales solicitations for all of its 60-plus locations. Sales representatives are prohibited to solicit on-site sales, promotions, introductions, training/education sessions, luncheons, etc. until further notice.
Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness
Tidelands HealthPoint will close at the end of the day Wednesday until further notice. Team members at the facility will be assigned to other roles in the health system during this temporary closure.
Tidelands Health encourages community members to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by frequently washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding touching their face and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition, practice social distancing. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep a distance between you and others.
If you are feeling sick, stay at home. Call your health care provider and follow the provider’s instructions. In case of emergency, dial 911.
Community members can find additional tips and resources, including helpful instructional videos and printable fliers for distribution, in the coronavirus information center at tidelandshealth.org.